What to do if you find an injured deer in France

‘Saving a wild animal is not straightforward, so get advice’ says Dominique Crickboom, general secretary of the Wildlife Care Center Network in France

18 March 2021
By Connexion journalist

Who should you call if you find an injured deer? If you find any injured wild animal, you should not approach it but get in touch with your nearest centre de sauvegarde de la faune sauvage wild animal rescue centre.

If you are in a national park or nature reserve, you should contact the park headquarters.

There are rescue centres throughout France and even though there might not be one nearby, you can telephone for advice. See lists at Réseau Centres de Soins Faune Sauvage and UFCS.

Dominique Crickboom, general secretary of the Union Française des Centres de Sauvegarde de la Faune Sauvage, says it is wise to get advice on the best steps to take, because saving a wild animal is not straightforward. He said: “Deer are particularly tricky.

“They are very nervous and transport, even by a professional, can make the situation worse. If they are young, it may be unwise to take them from their mother because they will transfer their imprinting instinct to humans, which can make it impossible to put them back into the wild.

“If you are a motorist who hits a deer, do not worry about finding it if it runs off. If you do, only an expert will be able to capture it, and often with difficulty.”

He advises that even though the law allows you to transport a wild animal in your car to a rescue centre in an emergency, you should only do so with small mammals, eg. hedgehogs. “We have had situations when a badger, for example, has appeared lifeless but later revived in the car and caused terrible havoc. “Wild animals can be very dangerous, particularly when injured. Instead of saving an animal, you might find you have to be saved by the emergency services yourself.”

For birds, the advice is the same: contact a rescue centre first. The Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux has centres of its own, part of the Réseau Faune Sauvage.

If the wild animal is dead, you should contact the Office français de la biodiversité (OFB), which was the result of a merger in 2020 between the Agence française pour la biodiversité (AFB) and the Office national de la chasse et de la faune sauvage (ONCFS), which used to be the body for people to get in touch with.

Contact details are on the OFB website. There are email addresses for department offices and usually a telephone number for the regional office.

If you accidentally kill a wild boar or deer with a car, the law says the driver can take it home, as long as you tell your local gendarme or police station first.

The alternative is to contact the local mairie, which can pay for a professional to dispose of the body if it is over 40 kilos, or bury it if it is smaller.

The Dordogne gendarmerie told The Connexion to leave small mammals, such as rabbits, hares and partridges.

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