Leave baby animals alone, state warns – Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
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“If you care, leave it there.’’
That time-honored phrase pertaining to young wildlife that can be observed each spring has been issued once more by wildlife biologists with the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Early June is the tail end of birthing season and the rearing of fawns and other common animals like rabbits, raccoons, fox and songbirds is in full swing.
While it’s easy to assume that a solo baby whitetail deer lying in some brush or a baby rabbit seen in a flower garden is abandoned or orphaned, the opposite is likely true.
It’s common for adult animal parents to stay away from their young for long stretches of time, especially when people are near. This lessens the chance of attracting predators.
Human intervention, such as picking up a fawn or bird and setting it back down, may delay the return of a parent, putting the young animal in peril. Those who encounter newborn wildlife should maintain their distance and keep their encounter brief, DEC officials said.
“As much as we are compelled to reach out to these young animals, we need to be aware that our intentions could be detrimental to their well-being,’’ DEC commissioner Basil Seggos said. “We encourage visitors to our natural areas and parks to enjoy young animals in the wild from a safe distance.’’
Fawns are capable of walking shortly after birth but spend their first several days lying still. The adult doe leaves the fawn alone except when nursing, which it does three to four times a day for less than 30 minutes. By the end of its second week, a fawn begins to move about and spend more time with its mother, and starts to eat grass and leaves. At 10 weeks, it is no longer dependent on milk. During August, they begin to lose their spots.
DEC reminds people that wildlife are not pets and keeping wildlife in captivity is against the law. Wildlife also carry disease that can be transferred to humans. For more information, go to the DEC’s website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6956.html.