Want To Do When You Find….

A little morbid? Maybe. But that dead animal or bird you discover could help scientists evaluate the health of wildlife populations as well as prevent and control diseases.

CDFW Environmental Scientist Krysta Rogers examines a red-tailed hawk. PHOTO: CDFW
CDFW Environmental Scientist Krysta Rogers examines a red-tailed hawk. PHOTO: CDFW

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced a new online tool for citizens to use when they find dead animals. Though still relatively new, the online submission feature is proving useful. This January, CDFW began closely monitoring the population of band-tailed pigeons for signs of disease. Many Californians who observed increased numbers of dead birds took the time to share that information with CDFW.

Californians are especially asked to report critters that have no visible injuries, found in unusual locations and/or more than five sick of dead animals at one location.

There are three ways folks can report dead animals:

  • Online. From the “Living with Wildlife” webpage, click on the purple box, “Report Dead Wildlife,” to access the form. The form asks for such information as: observation date, the reporter’s name and contact information, what kind of animal, where the animal was located and estimated mortality date. Photographs may be uploaded as well. The form is meant to be submitted online, but can also be filled out manually, printed and faxed to the Wildlife Investigations Lab at (916) 358-2814.
  • Smartphone: There is not a smartphone “app” available, but the mortality reporting form on the CDFW website is phone-enabled and can be filled out and submitted directly from a smartphone. To access the form, go to the main CDFW website  and type “mortality reporting” into the search engine. The first suggested link that appears will redirect you to the form and submission page.
  • Email: Reports can also be sent via email to the Wildlife Investigations Lab email at wilab@wildlife.ca.gov.

CDFW’s database does not include small animals (cats, dogs, skunks, possums, etc.) killed by cars or other mechanical means. These can be reported to the California Roadkill Observation System.

But if you see a deer, mountain lion or bear hit by a car, please contact the CDFW at once.

And be safe. Don’t touch a sick, injured or dead animal.  If you find an injured or sick animal, you can contact a local licensed wildlife rehabilitation center for advice.