ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is urging New Yorkers to leave young wildlife in the wild this spring.

According to the DEC, in the coming weeks, young animals will be immerging across New York. These animals are often purposely left in places by their parents to keep them hidden from predators while the adult is collecting food. However, young wildlife remains to be extremely vulnerable.

“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 Seggos said in a press release. “However, young wildlife belongs in the wild and in nearly all cases, interaction with people does more harm than good to the animals.”

The DEC used white-tailed deer fawns as an example of how human interactions with young wildlife can be problematic. Fawns are born in late May and early June. They spend most of their first several days lying still in tall grass, leaf litter, or sometimes unconcealed.

Wildlife experts warned that during this time, people occasionally find a lone fawn and assume it has been abandoned, which is rare. Experts say that the fawn’s best chance for survival is if it is raised by the adult doe. Human interference can cause the doe’s next visit to the fawn to be delayed. Because of this, fawns should never be picked up.

However, if an animal is abandoned, it is typically due to an injury. If a young wild animal is found with an obvious injury or has been confirmed to be orphaned, individuals should contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Anyone who observes wildlife that appears to be sick or behaving abnormally should contact their DEC regional wildlife office.