ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Wildlife experts caution that human interactions do more harm than good to wild animals. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds New Yorkers to appreciate wildlife from a distance 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 wildlife, they are most likely not lost or abandoned. Young wildlife is purposely left there by their parents to keep them hidden from predators while the adult animal is nearby collecting food for the newborn they noted.
According to officials, a good example of how human interaction with wildlife can be problematic is when people encounter white-tailed deer fawns in the wild. Fawns are born during late May and early June, and although they can walk shortly after birth, they spend most of their first several days lying still in tall grass, leaf litter, or sometimes relatively unconcealed they said.
Officials said the fawn’s best chance to survive is to be raised by an adult female (doe), which would rarely abandon their young. During this period, a fawn is usually left alone by the doe, except when nursing. If human presence is detected by the doe, the doe may delay its next visit to the nurse.
Fawns should never be picked up. A fawn’s protective coloration and ability to remain motionless help it avoids detection by predators and people.
Wildlife experts said the more serious cases of animals being abandoned are due to injury. Anyone that encounters a young wild animal that is obviously injured or orphaned may wish to contact the wildlife rehabilitator or DEC’s regional wildlife office.
Additionally, DEC reminds the public that young wildlife is not a pet. Wildlife experts said wild animals are not well-suited to life in captivity and may carry diseases that can be harmful to people.
“When young wildlife venture into the world, they may have a brief inability to walk or fly on their own, making some people believe they might need help,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “However, young wildlife belongs in the wild, and in nearly all cases, interaction with people does more harm than good to the animals.”