DNRE Reminds Public to Leave Wildlife in the Wild
As spring brings the season for wildlife to give birth, the
Department of Natural Resources and Environment reminds Michigan
residents to resist the instinct to try to help seemingly abandoned
fawns or other baby animals.
“The truth is, the animal doesn’t need help – even if a fawn
appears to be abandoned, its mother is almost always nearby,” said
DNRE wildlife biologist Brent Rudolph. “We appreciate the good
intentions of those who want to help, but the animals are better
off left alone than removed from the wild.”
Rudolph said it’s not uncommon for does to leave their young
unattended for up to eight hours at a time, an anti-predator
mechanism that minimizes scent left around the newborn animals.
“The same holds true for rabbits, ground-dwelling birds and other
wildlife,” he said. “Even avian parents will continue to care for
hatchlings that have fallen from a nest.”
The DNRE advises that:
Many baby animals will die if removed from their natural
environment, and some have diseases or parasites that can be passed
on to humans or pets.
Some “rescued” animals that do survive become habituated to
people and are unable to revert back to life in the wild. It is
illegal to possess a wild deer in Michigan, and every day a deer
spends with humans makes it that much less likely to be able to
survive in the wild.
Eventually, habituated animals pose additional problems as they
mature and develop adult animal behaviors. Habituated deer,
especially bucks, can become aggressive as they mature, and
raccoons are well-known for this, too.
“If you know of a deer or other animal that has been orphaned,
early in the year – for example, if a doe is dead nearby – please
call your local DNRE office, which can refer you to a licensed
rehabilitator,” said Rudolph. “Licensed rehabilitators are trained
to handle wild animals and know how to release them so that they
can survive in the wild.”