The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Wildlife Center was founded in 1983. The primary objectives of the Wildlife Center are to:
- Provide wildlife education outreach programs throughout Arizona
- Provide specialized care for non-releasable education animal ambassadors and other Arizona wildlife
- Manage the desert tortoise adoption program
Financial support for the Wildlife Center comes largely from Arizona’s Heritage Fund — a voter-passed initiative that uses lottery ticket sales to help support wildlife conservation and education. The Center receives additional support from public donations of money, time and supplies.
Make a Donation
Help us support Arizona’s wildlife at our Wildlife Center by donating. Text “CRITTER” to 41444 from your smartphone, or visit the web page
Injured, Sick or Orphaned Wildlife
Picking up injured wildlife
- There is almost NEVER an occasion when you should remove a baby wild animal from its natural environment.
- It is always better to call a wildlife rehabilitator to remove or assess a wild animal than to do it yourself.
- If you’ve already picked up a young animal, please put it back exactly where you found it, or under/in a shrub nearby where its mother can find it.
Determining whether wildlife is injured, sick, or orphaned
- Before you assume an animal is in trouble, wait and watch: young animals are often left alone for hours at a time while their parents gather food.
- If an animal is shivering, obviously injured, or if its parents have been killed, then call a wildlife rehabilitator.
- Sick animals will often be very lethargic and may sneeze, drool, pant, shiver, or sit ruffled.
- Injured animals may limp, drag limbs, or have obvious wounds.
- If the sick or injured animal is a large game animal, such as a deer, javelina, mountain lion, or bear, or a potential danger to handlers, such as a coyote or large bird, call the closest Arizona Game and Fish Department office or Radio Dispatch at 623 236-7201.
I found a bird. Does it need help?
- Birds often fall out of nests.
- Young birds often spend a few days on or near the ground while they are learning to fly but are still being fed by their parents.
- Place a fallen bird in a tree or shrub or on a shaded portion of a roof, out of the way of cats, dogs, and children.
- If you can safely reach the nest, you can put it back. It’s a myth that bird parents will reject their young if they smell like people.
- If a baby bird shows obvious signs of illness or injury, call a wildlife rehabilitator.
I found a deer or elk. Does it need help?
- Deer and elk mothers leave their fawns lying alone for the entire day while they feed.
- Orphaned deer and elk that are hand-raised lose their fear of people and become dangerous as they mature, especially the males and they cannot be returned to the wild and often have to be euthanized.
- If you have taken a young deer or elk from the wild, immediately take it back to exactly where you found it. Do NOT release it in a different location; its mother will not find it.
- If you cannot return it to the wild, call the closest Arizona Game and Fish Department office immediately. After normal business hours call the Department’s Radio Dispatch Room at 623 236-7201.