Help wild animals by leaving them alone

Hungry Baby Bird

Help wild animals by leaving them alone

Each spring, wildlife officers, park officials and veterinarians receive calls from people who have “rescued” a wild animal from death or injury. While living in the wild can be perilous, many concerns are misplaced and removing animals from their natural habitat can be illegal.

Typical scenarios can be categorized by either feathers or fur.

Raccoons, squirrels, opossums and skunks raise their young in dens and burrows in close proximity to humans. As they grow, the young begin following their parents on feeding forays or wander out on individual exploratory missions.

They’re seldom orphaned or lost, but are learning the ropes of living on their own. Removing them damages their chances for survival, steals them from their parents, and exposes you and your pets to health-threatening parasites and diseases.

If you’re having issues with furbearers, the Division of Wildlife has a list of licensed removal experts who can help. Call 419-424-5000 for information.

Deer fawns are found along trails, fields and woodlots. They appear helpless and scared, begging for a helping hand. But they aren’t lost, their mothers are never far away, and their fear is of you. Fawns should never be removed from where they’re found. If moved, return them to the area immediately. Possession is illegal and often results in the animal being euthanized.

Birds are found blown from their nests during spring storms or spotted hopping on the ground, too young to fly. During this interim period, they are susceptible to predation, resulting in natural losses.

The Division of Wildlife offers this advice:

  • Think before you act. Check for nests before cutting trees or clearing brush and, when possible, delay work until autumn.
  • Leave animals in the wild. If a nest is disturbed, replace young and nest material as close to the original location as possible. It’s a myth that parents won’t tend to them because of human scent.
  • Keep pets under control so they don’t raid nests, and don’t forget to keep those pets inoculated against parasites and diseases.
  • Educate children to respect wildlife, emphasizing wild animals shouldn’t be handled.
  • Contact wildlife officials before taking action. Call 1-800-WILDLIFE.

Finally, don’t expect to keep wild animals that you’ve recovered. They’re not pets and may only be raised by licensed rehabilitators.

Originally Posted on Sat. May 20, 2017 By The Courier. Photo Public Domain by Areefi

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