It happens every spring across the state. The door to the Game, Fish and Parks office opens and in walks a mom, carrying a box with holes poked in the top, and two little kids with wide, excited eyes. They stopped in to drop off the baby animal they rescued.
They are excited because they think they’re doing something wonderful. They think they’re helping a baby animal survive because Game, Fish and Parks works with wildlife, and we must have places to raise these animals.
Sadly, we don’t. Most of these animals met their death sentence when they were picked up off the ground for the first time. As good as people’s intentions are, nature does a better job of raising young animals than any person.
Nobody at GFP enjoys what happens next. Generally, we turn the mom, kids and box away. We refer them to animal shelters and humane societies who generally have to turn them away as well. The sheer amount of baby rabbits, birds, squirrels, raccoons and fawns is too much.
The bottom line is always, “if you care, leave it there.” Females step away to feed, and will return to their healthy young. Young wildlife that are alone or injured can serve as a meal for another wild animal. Their death could prevent the spread of diseases and helps keep a population of that species in check.
While it might be the hardest thing to do, walk away from wildlife young. It’s the best thing a person can do.