Wildlife officials: Don't pick up baby animals you think have been abandoned

Wildlife officials: Don't pick up baby animals you think have been abandoned

Photos courtesy of Henry Moore Jr. BCU/WSU

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is reminding people to not pick up baby animals, even if they think they have been abandoned

Many people may find a young animal believed to be abandoned by its parents, but WDFW says in nearly every case, the parent is nearby and will take care of its offspring.

Sadly, the actions of people who believe they are rescuing an animal often lead to it having to be put down.

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WDFW said Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is caring for several baby animals that should have been left alone, including two barn owlets, four screech owlets, two coyote pups, one mink kit, three raccoon kits, two pigeon squab, and one great-horned owl.

Fish & Wildlife said officers recently responded to a call where someone picked up a fawn after assuming its mother was dead, but officials say mothers often leave fawns alone while they forage for food.

“Leaving an animal alone is usually the best thing for an animal's survival,” WDFW said in a Facebook post.

Luckily, the fawn was able to be reunited with its mother with the help of a wildlife biologist.

“The only time you should consider intervening in a wild animal’s life is if it is clearly sick or injured, or if you are certain the parent is dead,” WDFW said on its website.  And in those cases, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator should be consulted before moving an animal to avoid unnecessary handling.

For information on when to leave an animal alone and when to consider intervening, visiting WDFW's Injured or orphaned wildlife page.

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