IDAHO — Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) is reminding people to leave young wildlife alone when they head outside during the spring and early summer. There is a good chance people will see a baby animal that appears to be alone with no mom in sight.
While it might be first instinct to try and rescue the cute and seemingly helpless animals, Fish and Game officials say the best thing you can for them is to leave them alone. Every spring, IDFG gets calls from people who have "rescued" baby animals they assume have been lost, abandoned or orphaned.
IDFG says while these people typically mean well, they are often doing more damage than good when they intervene. Typically, the mom is not far away from the baby, to begin with.
Animal parents will sometimes leave their babies for an extended period of time for a variety of reasons, like getting food, rest, or to divert attention from the babies, according to IDFG. Deer, elk and pronghorn routinely leave their babies in a secure location, move to feed, and return later to quickly feed their young and leave again. The young animals know instinctively to remain still in the places their mother left them.
As baby birds mature, they often leave the next in efforts to hone their flying skills. Adult birds continue to feed their offspring until the young birds can survive on their own, even if they fall out of the nest.
IDFG says if you find a baby bird, duckling, deer fawn or other animals, the best approach is to leave it undisturbed. If you wish, you can call your nearest Fish and Game Office, where employees take calls about apparently orphaned or injured animals, answer questions and, when necessary, retrieve animals.
IDFG also says do not plan to raise wild animals on your own. Young wild animals need special care and feeding that is beyond what the average household is prepared to do. Possession of most wildlife species taken from the wild is also illegal in Idaho.