Dan Bergeron: 603-271-2461
Lt. Heidi Murphy: 603-271-3127
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
April 4, 2014
Leave Young Animals Alone -- Keep Wildlife Wild
CONCORD, N.H. – With the arrival of spring, many species of wildlife are giving birth to their young. Finding young wildlife can be exciting, but in most cases, even if it appears abandoned, the mother is not far off. If you encounter young wildlife – even young animals that appear to need help – the kindest and safest thing to do is to leave them alone and let nature take its course.
Reports have already begun coming in to Fish and Game and local wildlife rehabilitators from people who have picked up young animals, often mistakenly thinking they are orphans. "Picking up young animals is an error in judgment," says N.H. Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Dan Bergeron. "People think they're doing a good deed, but they are often removing the animal from the care of its parents and potentially exposing themselves to the risk of disease. In particular, your actions may result in the animal having to be euthanized for rabies testing."
Young wild animals (including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians) typically have their best chance of surviving when they are in their own natural environment, explains Bergeron.
What should you do if you find a young animal? "Give wildlife plenty of space and leave them alone and in the wild, where they belong," he said. If in doubt, report the location of the animal to N.H. Fish and Game by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 603-271-2461.
Only qualified people with special rehabilitator permits, issued through N.H. Fish and Game, may take in and care for injured or orphaned wildlife. Improper care of injured or orphaned wildlife often leads to their sickness or death. Unless you have rehabilitator credentials, it is illegal to have in your possession or take New Hampshire wildlife from the wild and keep it in captivity. For a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, go to wildnh.com/Wildlife/wildlife_rehabbers.htm.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit wildnh.com.
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