Give Wild Babies Their Space

Photo credit: Robert Rolley

As you head out to find your adventure this holiday weekend, the Wisconsin DNR reminds you to help keep wildlife wild by staying a safe distance from young wild animals.

“During the summer, we receive many inquiries from concerned residents about the wildlife they are encountering while camping, hiking or even in their backyard,” says Jenna Fastner, DNR captive wildlife health specialist. “While touching a young wild animal does not cause the mom to reject it, human scent can give away its location to a predator and risk the animal’s health. In addition, contact with a wild animal can also put your health at risk.”

Fastner recommends always contacting the DNR or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice before intervening.

Reasons To Keep Wildlife Wild:

Stress: Wild animals view people and domestic animals as predators. This stress can cause serious health problems or death.

Diet: Wild animals have specialized dietary needs. Without a specific diet, they are at high risk of severe nutritional deficiencies.

Habituation: Wild animals must learn normal social behaviors from their own species. Wild animals that learn non-normal behaviors from humans or domestic animals will likely not survive if released.

Disease: Wild animals carry many diseases and parasites, including some that can spread to domestic animals and humans.

It’s Illegal: Most wild animals are protected under state and federal laws and cannot be taken from the wild or possessed by unauthorized citizens.

Sick Or Injured Wild Animals?

If you find a wild animal that appears sick or injured, leave it alone. Take pictures and make notes about what you’re observing. Then, call the DNR or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for guidance.