LINCOLN, Neb. – It is natural for some people who see a young wild animal apparently abandoned by its mother to want to rescue it. The correct course of action: leave it alone.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission receives calls each year from people who “rescue” fawns or other young animals or birds. Jeff Hoffman, assistant wildlife division administrator at Game and Parks says people should not move the wildlife babies.

Here are some rules of thumb:

— A lone fawn, or other young bird or mammal, may appear to be abandoned or injured, but frequently the mother is off feeding or drinking. Do not move it. “The longer the fawn is separated from its mother, the slimmer the chance that it will be reunited with her.” He said that in some cases an orphaned fawn will be adopted by other deer.

— It is normal for a doe to leave its fawn to keep it from being detected by predators. The doe can be seen by predators as it feeds, so she leaves the small, camouflaged fawn hidden and leaves the area to draw attention away from the fawn’s location.

— Do not try to raise wildlife babies as pets. “As animals mature, they become more independent and follow natural instincts to leave and establish their own territories,” Hoffman said. Rescued animals are poorly prepared for life in the wild.

— Most wildlife babies are protected by state or federal law and it is illegal to possess them.


Jerry Kane, or (402) 471-5008

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