Newborn wildlife arrive with warmer weather
EAGLE COUNTY – On Friday, June 2, at 4:43 a.m., Sonia Marzec, district wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, received a call from the Colorado State Patrol stating that an elk was in a man’s living room.Thinking the animal was injured or orphaned, the man picked up a 2-week-old elk around Sylvan Lake and took it home. Unfortunately, because the man could not remember exactly where he picked up the calf, the Division of Wildlife could not return the young elk to the wild and was forced to take it to rehabilitation.”Had he left it, mom would have came and picked it up,” Marzec said.
Early summer in the Eagle Valley means warmer temperatures and many newborn animals. The Division of Wildlife wants to people to leave these little critters alone.Marzec said that despite best intentions, it is never a good idea to take a baby animal from the wild. Though it may look like an animal is “orphaned” – and its mother is nowhere in sight – the mother most likely is near, and will be back. “She’ll leave the baby there, she’ll go off and feed, and she’ll come check on it,” she said. “We as humans just don’t see her.”Marzec said the elk calf housed in the living room will probably never return to the wild. The calf will soon become dependent on humans for survival, and is now more susceptible to predators because it carries the human scent.
“The life of that elk is now completely in the hands of a human,” Marzec said.Fawning and calving season for deer and elk is May 15 to June 15, and Marzec said people are will likely come across one of these “cute” babies in Eagle County. Though it may look hurt, Marzec said the animal’s instinct is to remain motionless when a human is near in hopes that it will be left alone. If people worry that a baby animal is orphaned, the best thing to do is to call the Division of Wildlife and let them know exactly where the animal was seen and at what time. Wildlife experts will check on the animal, and, in cases that it is actually orphaned, will take it to be rehabilitated.
Because mothers often leave their young for long periods of time, the Division of Wildlife recommends waiting at least 12 hours to call for help unless there is absolute certainty that the parent is dead.In addition to seeing deer, elk, bighorn sheep, lambs and rabbits, it is also common, Marzec said, for hikers and bikers to find young birds that have fallen from their nest. She recommends carefully placing the bird back into its nest.In all other cases, it is always better to call the Division of Wildlife before handling any wildlife, Marzec said, as it is risky for these animals to have extensive human contact – and it is especially dangerous for these animals to be taken out of their natural habitat.”A lot of times then they won’t survive,” she said.Vail, Colorado