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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wildlife Wednesday: Put Me Down, Dude

"Also, I'm just gonna pee all over your North Face jacket."
So, here's a scenario for you:
You're out hiking in the wild and you come across a cute baby fawn all by itself, and you don't see any sign of the mother anywhere. Do you pick it up and take it to the nearest forest ranger?
Here's why: The odds are that the fawn (or other baby animal) is not abandoned. It's not at all uncommon for animals to leave their babies alone while they go out and forage for food. In the case of the fawn, mom is probably hiding away out of your sight, hoping you will go away. Don't expect her to come running out to say, "No, it's cool. I'm here."
Fewer species than you think will actually aggressively try to protect their young. Most wild young have natural camouflage for this reason. In fact, mom standing too close to the baby in an area where she is unsure of predators is a sure way for the predator to locate the baby. It may not seem logical to us, but there are different rules in the wild.
If you pick up the fawn or the kit raccoons or other wild baby critter and take it away, it's extremely difficult to reunite them with their mother.
Odds are, unless it's an obvious situation where the babies are orphaned, you're better off leaving them right where they are. Raccoons, deer, elk, fox, and all of the other animals have got this parenthood thing down. It's we humans who seem to have parenting issues.

If it makes you feel better, take note of the location and notify Fish and Wildlife, but don't touch the baby or try to take it someplace else. You're just creating a problem where there probably wasn't one. You could even be issued a citation - and not the good kind.

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