The North Dakota Game and Fish Department offers a simple message to well-intentioned humans who want to pick up and rescue what appear to be orphaned baby animals this time of year: don’t touch them. Whether it is a young fawn, duckling, cottontail rabbit or a songbird, it is better to leave them alone.
More often than not, young animals are not abandoned or deserted, and the mother is probably nearby. Young wildlife are purposely secluded by adults to protect them from predators.
Anytime a young wild animal has human contact its chance for survival decreases significantly. It’s illegal to take wild animals home, and captive animals later returned to the wild will struggle to survive because they do not possess learned survival skills.
The only time a baby animal should be picked up is if it is in an unnatural situation, such as a young songbird found on a doorstep. In that case, the young bird can be moved to the closest suitable habitat.
Citizens should also steer clear of adult wildlife, such as deer or moose that might wander into urban areas. Crowding stresses animals and this can lead to a potentially dangerous situation.
In addition, motorists are reminded to watch for deer along roadways. During the next several weeks young animals are dispersing from their home ranges, and with deer more active during this time, the potential for car‑deer collisions increase.