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DOW: Don't Handle Young Wildlife 
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Post DOW: Don't Handle Young Wildlife
News Release from the Department of Wildlife:


This is the time of year when wild animals are giving birth to their young. The Colorado Division of Wildlife advises people not to approach, touch or handle young animals.

Young animals that are handled by humans are often abandoned by their mothers. In most cases, the young animal then will die.

“We know that people are trying to be helpful, but the young animals are best cared for by their own parents,” said Stephanie Schuler, a district wildlife manager in the Durango area. “The best thing people can do is to leave young wildlife alone.”

During spring and early summer, people often see young animals that appear to be alone in the forest, in backyards or along the sides of roads. The animals have not been abandoned. Young animals are often left alone to allow the mother to feed, to help them avoid predators and to learn how to live in the wild.

Deer provide a good example of how wildlife adapts behaviors to help them survive. Young fawns have no scent and are born with speckled coats that provide a natural camouflage. These two factors help them avoid being found by predators. When the doe senses a predator might be close by, it moves away. Many other animals use similar techniques.

Young birds often fall out of their nests or are pushed out of nests by parents to encourage them to fly.

People also need to keep their pets under control. In the woods, dogs – acting on their natural instincts - can find animals and attack them. The stress of being attacked often is fatal for young animals unable to defend themselves.

In neighborhoods and backyards cats are adept at finding eggs and young birds. Cats are pets – but they’re also predators.

Except for what’s put in birdfeeders, people should not provide any type of food for wildlife. Providing food causes animals to bunch up in small areas and that makes them vulnerable to diseases and predation.

People also need to know that not all newborn animals will survive.

“In the case of all wildlife, we have to understand that there is a natural mortality that occurs” explained Ron Harthan, district wildlife manager in Montrose.

If you see a young animal, admire its beauty from a distance, and then move on quietly.

(June 16, 2006)

Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:54 pm
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