Young Wildlife – If You Care Leave Them There
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is offering a reminder to leave wildlife babies alone, even if they appear to be left without their parents.
'If You Care, Leave Them There' is a campaign through the IF&W that aims to encourage residents to never interact with young wildlife. If they appear to be on their own, it's because the mother or father has gone off to look for food, and will be returning shortly to tend to the youngster.
Fawns are cute, so it's tempting to go over and pet them, but remember that they're wild animals. And your scent on the animal may spell trouble. The bond between the Mom Deer and her fawn is very strong, but if the baby has too many human interactions, it can actually discourage the mother from returning. Leave them alone, and Mom will be back to feed the animal. Never feed these, or any other young animals.
Moose calves are also cute, and much smaller than their parents, and so folks might be tempted to approach them. For many reasons similar to a fawn, it's never a good idea to touch or try to feed a moose calf. And remember, Mom may not be too far away, which could be dangerous to you if she catches you near her baby!
Squirrels, Raccoons, and birds build nests in trees, and that can be a problem if the tree falls or needs to be cut down. If the nest contains babies, wildlife experts advise moving it to a nearby, secure location with plenty of drainage, and leaving it alone. The parents will likely come back and get the young ones to take them to a new home.
Don't forget, these are wild animals, so they carry diseases like rabies. Interacting with them could result in your being infected. It's against the law in Maine to take a wild animal home and take care of it until it's old enough to be on its own. There are experts who have the training to do that.
I asked Wildlife Director Judy Camuso what folks should do if they're watching an animal and it seems to be in distress or abandoned and she said "Well, first of all, if you're watching it, you're too close!" However, if you do see an animal in the same place day after day and think that it needs help, contact someone with the IF&W. Remember, if you care, leave it there!