DEC urges to leave young wildlife alone

ALBANI, NY (NEWS10) – Wildlife experts warn that human interactions do more harm than good for wildlife. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding New Yorkers to appreciate wildlife from afar and resist the urge to pick up newborn fawns and other young wildlife.

Officials said, “If you care, leave it there.” When people encounter young animals in the wild, they are most likely not lost or abandoned. Juveniles in the wild are deliberately left there by their parents to keep them hidden from predators while the adult animal is nearby to gather food for the newborn they have spotted.

According to officials, a prime example of how human interaction with wildlife can be problematic is when people encounter white-tailed deer in the wild. Roe deer are born in late May and early June, and although they can walk shortly after birth, they spend most of their early days lying still in tall grass, leaf litter or sometimes relatively undisguised, they said.

Officials said the fawn’s best chance of survival is to be raised by an adult female (doe), who would rarely abandon their young. During this period, a fawn is usually left alone by the doe, except when they are breastfeeding. If human presence is detected by the doe, the doe may delay the next visit to the nurse.

Roe deer should never be picked up. A fawn’s protective coloration and ability to remain motionless help it avoid being detected by predators and humans.

Wildlife experts said the more serious cases of abandoned animals are due to injuries. Anyone who encounters a young wild animal that is clearly injured or orphaned should contact the wildlife rehabilitator or DEC’s regional wildlife office.

In addition, DEC reminds the public that young animals in the wild are not pets. Wildlife experts said wild animals are not well suited to life in captivity and can transmit diseases that can harm humans.

“As young animals move out into the world, they are temporarily unable to walk or fly on their own, leading some people to think they may need help,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “However, young wildlife belongs in the wild and in almost all cases interacting with humans does the animals more harm than good.”

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