Keep Wildlife Wild

As Wisconsinites enjoys warmer weather this month, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds everyone that wild animals and their young will also be out and about.

Knowing what to do before finding a young wild animal can make all the difference to protect its health and keep wildlife wild.

“During the springtime, we receive many inquiries from concerned residents about young wild animals. Never try to care for a wild animal yourself. If you find a wild animal that appears sick or injured, it is best to leave it alone. Do not provide food or water,” said Jenna Fastner, DNR Captive Wildlife Health Specialist. “Additionally, people should remember that it is against the law in Wisconsin to possess a wild animal without the proper license.”

With most species, it’s perfectly natural for mothers to leave their young alone for long periods of time. While alone, young animals will often lie quietly and still to avoid attracting predators. Drawing attention to a young animal’s location can tip-off predators or keep its mother away longer than she would like.

If you find a wild animal that appears sick or injured, leave it alone. You can help by keeping people and pets away from the area. If you have interested children, they can learn to keep wildlife wild by observing from a safe distance.

If you’re concerned, take pictures and make notes about what you’re observing. Then, call the DNR or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for guidance. Visit the DNR website for a directory of rehabilitators in your area.

Visit the DNR’s Keep Wildlife Wild webpage for species-specific tips on how to decide if a young wild animal is truly orphaned or in need of help.