With spring in full bloom, the rate of animal births is sky rocketing.
Birds, ducks, deer, raccoons, squirrels, they're all reproducing and bringing tiny babies into the world. Sometimes things go wrong, though, and we come across an animal who seems to be in need of some help.
Most of us will pick up the animal or take it to a shelter to be nursed back to health. But how much good is that really doing?
According to Clay Hickey, Idaho Fish and Game wildlife manager, helping these animals could actually hurt them even more in the long run.
“Just because the mother is not present, doesn’t mean the youngster isn’t being properly cared for,” said Clay Hickey, Fish and Game wildlife manager based in Lewiston. “If you encounter young wildlife that seems abandoned, it’s best to leave it alone. Resisting the urge to pick up that deer fawn may seem cruel, but it’s the right thing to do. The mother is probably nearby just waiting for you to leave.”
Larger mammals will often leave their young in a safe location for extended periods of time so they can forage for food but will then return later.
Now obviously if the animal is in immediate danger, like in the middle of the road, or is visibly injured then there are ways you can help out.
Baby birds or other small critters who are found on the ground should be placed in a bush or on a tree branch so predators like house cats won't find them so easily. Note the location and contact wildlife services in your area if you are worried.
Hickey says too many animals are brought out of the wild to be 'rescued' and end up living worse off than before.
“The reality is that the youngster’s fate is usually sealed – in a bad way — when it is ‘rescued’ from the wild," Hickey says.
Most of them don't get the survival skills to be released back in the wild, they don't survive well in captivity, and a lot of zoos refuse to take more animals due to overcrowding.
The other thing to note is you should never plan on raising wild animals on your own. If you find an animal in need, contact local animal services so they can be cared for properly.
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