Emergency Euthanasia of Wildlife

Wild Animal Species, Exotic Pets, Hybrids

When an animal is suffering from imminently fatal injuries, emergency euthanasia may be the most humane course of treatment.

  • If the animal has an owner, consent must be obtained first.
  • If the animal is wild, its "owner" is the State, Federal, or Tribal authority with oversight of the species or the land on which the animal was found or is currently located.
    • For protected species (e.g., threatened or endangered species, migratory birds, certain game species) suffering from imminently fatal injuries the proper authorities need to be contacted first, if at all possible.
    • Whether such an animal expires or is euthanized, you must report it to the proper authorities, who may also give specific instructions on what to do with the remains as well as any device (such as a radio collar) that may be on the animal.
  • Both the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia and the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) Guidelines on Euthanasia of Nondomestic Animals discuss acceptable methods of euthanasia for wild animal species, exotic pet species, and their hybrids.