Spring Means Baby Wildlife…Resist Urge To Interfere!

Just because you see wildlife alone, such as a fawn in tall grass or a baby bird on the ground, doesn’t mean they are orphaned or abandoned, according to the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.

Unless a baby animal is visibly hurt or in a dangerous situation, such as in the road, resist the urge to “save it.” The baby may not need rescuing.

Go inside and wait to see if the mother returns. Be patient, wildlife experts advise. Mothers won’t endanger their little ones by returning if you’re anywhere nearby, according to wildlife experts.

Certain events that are upsetting to us are a normal part of development in the wild. Like deer, mother rabbits only return to their babies a few times a day. What about grounded baby birds? Fledgling birds often end up on the groud. That’s just part of learning to fly, experts say.

“The best chance of survival that a wildlife baby has is with its mother,” says one expert. So before you intervene, consult a wildlife specialist or a trained professional who works with injured animals.

When help is needed, a little goes a long way. Moving a baby off a road and into nearby cover allows the mother to find it when she comes back. And she will, if she isn’t already watching you from the shadows.

Common wisdom goes that a mother will abandon her baby if it has been handled by a human. But touching the baby briefly usually is fine. If you are sure an animal needs to be moved, do so calmly and quickly. To protect yourself from teeth and claws, wear leather gloves or use a towel. If the baby is obviously in distress-its injured or infested with insects, its ribs are visible or its mother is dead-place it in a box with toweling and deliver it to a rehabilitation professional or a veterinarian.

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Reader Comments

Do you have contact information for rehabilitation professionals?

Locally, I would call the WV DNR, but I don’t know any private ones. Maybe someone could research it.