DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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May 16, 2013

Officials: Leave young animals alone

CONCORD — With the arrival of spring, many species of wildlife are giving birth to their young. Finding young wildlife can be exciting, but in most cases, even if it appears abandoned, its mother is not far off. If you encounter young wildlife — even young animals that appear to need help — the kindest and safest thing to do is to leave them alone and let nature take its course.

Reports have already begun coming in to Fish and Game and local wildlife rehabilitators from people who have picked up young animals, often mistakenly thinking they are orphans.

“Picking up fawns, baby raccoons or young animals is an error in judgment,” said N.H. Fish and Game Wildlife Programs Supervisor Kent Gustafson. “People think they’re doing a good deed, but they are often removing the animal from the care of its parents and potentially exposing themselves to the risk of disease. In particular, your actions may result in the animal having to be euthanized for rabies testing.”

Young wild animals (including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians) typically have their best chance of surviving when they are in their own natural environment, Gustafson said. What should you do if you find a young animal?

“Give wildlife plenty of space and leave them alone and in the wild, where they belong,” he said.

If in doubt, report the location of the animal to N.H. Fish and Game by emailing wildlife@wildlife.nh.gov or calling 271-2461.

Gustafson said seeing a deer fawn alone, for example, does not mean that it is orphaned or that it needs your help; it is normal for a doe to leave her fawn alone while she goes off to feed, and in many cases, the doe will not return until nightfall. Leaving the fawn undisturbed, and where it is, gives it the best chance of being reunited with its mother.

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