Colorado warns of dangers when trying to help young wild animals
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Colorado Division of Wildlife encourages people to think twice about picking up young animals.
According to a press release from the agency, they often hear from people trying to give food or water to young wildlife in their yards, along trails, or in wildlife open space areas. However, the agency warns, it’s most often more harmful than good for the animals.
According to wildlife officials, it’s normal to find young wild animals without an adult animal nearby especially during the spring birthing season. Well-meaning people sometimes scoop up newly born wildlife and bring them to wildlife rehabilitation facilities, veterinary clinics, or Division of Wildlife offices, but experts say that is the wrong thing to do.
“The best thing to do if you are concerned is to quietly observe the animal from a distance using binoculars,” said Wildlife Officer Jeromy Huntington. “Don’t hover so close that the wild parents are afraid to return to the area.”
Huntington advises people who do run across a young wild animal to leave the animal where it is, and to keep pets out of the area.
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However, Huntington said, in some cases if several hours go by and the parent does not return, it may be possible that the newborn was abandoned or something has happened to the parent. In those instances it is OK to report it to the Division of Wildlife.
The DOW noted that keeping a wild animal as a pet is illegal; the exception being licensed wildlife rehabilitators.
In instances where small birds have fallen out of a nest, experts recommend returning them to the nest only if it can be done in a safe manner, or to place them on a high branch to keep them away from pets.
Picking up wildlife can also be detrimental to humans as well as the animals. According to Huntington, wild animals can carry rabies, distemper, or other illnesses. And it’s also possible for them to carry fleas, which may subsequently spread disease to humans or pets.
For more information visit the DOW website at: http://www.colorado.gov/wildlife, or call the Division of Wildlife office in Glenwood Springs at 970-947-2920.