Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a statement reminding the public to leave fawns and other young wildlife where they are. The animals don’t need “rescue,” and disturbing them reduces their chance of survival.
Touching wildlife is also against the law.
Every spring Oregon’s wildlife gives birth and begins to raise their offspring. Youngsters are taught what to eat, where to take shelter and how to survive in the wild. During this period mothers leave young alone, often for extended periods of time, to feed and so that they do not draw attention to newborns.
Unfortunately, every year well-meaning people pick up young wildlife and take it home or bring it into ODFW and other agency offices around the state.
If calls to local ODFW offices are any indication, spring 2012 will not be an exception.
Tonya Moore, ODFW North Willamette Watershed District assistant wildlife biologist, has received two calls in two days about fawns. She reports that common calls are from people who have picked up fawns, young raccoons and birds.
“We know people are concerned about young wildlife, but the best thing to do is to leave them where you found them,” said Moore.
“Picking up young wildlife dramatically decreases their chance of survival,” said Jim Cadwell, ODFW wildlife biologist in LaGrande. “Every year we get fawns and birds from robins to raptors—all animals that should have been left where they were. The fact is, mothers who leave their young know exactly where they are and will return.
And when fledgling birds are learning to fly, they will spend time on the ground.”
ODFW has issued these guidelines:
• Never assume an animal is orphaned and remove it from the woods, forest or even your backyard. Leave it alone and leave the area. Call your local ODFW office or OSP before you approach any young wildlife.
• Keep your dog or cat away from young wildlife.
• If you see an animal that is clearly is in distress, is being disturbed by people or pets, or is lying near or on a road, call your local ODFW office, Oregon State Police office, or a local wildlife rehabilitation center that is approved by ODFW.
• If you see a seal pup, young sea lion, or other marine mammal in distress, contact OSP’s hotline at 1-800-452-7888.