Wildlife Babies: Game and Fish Says Look, But Don’t Touch
Wyoming wildlife throughout the state will be bearing their young in the next several weeks and wildlife officials say although it's an incredible time of year, you can look, but please don't touch.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says it's a chance to see newborn elk calves, deer, pronghorn fawns, and others but they urge people who may come across the young animals to leave newborn wildlife alone and keep your distance.
“Getting a chance to view newborn wildlife is one of the best parts of spring in the West. But please view animals from a distance and do not touch. Spring is an important time in a newborn’s life, and interference from humans can put their life at risk,” said Grant Frost, Wyoming Game and Fish biologist.
According to a release from Game and Fish, most mammals hide their young and return periodically to nurse. Often people who find the young ones with no adult around assume the newborns have been abandoned, but they say this is almost never the case. The mother knows where her babies are, and will almost certainly return to take care of them.
As to birds, sometimes the little ones fall out of or leave their nests before they are able to fly. Officials say their parents will continue to care for the young bird while it is on the ground, bringing food and trying to protect the youngster while it is in this vulnerable situation.
They also warn that getting too close to newborn wildlife can be very dangerous. A mother bear, bison, moose or even deer will display very aggressive behavior when humans get close to their young. If you encounter aggressive wildlife with young, you should leave the area immediately.
“The best option for people who come across newborn wildlife is to respectfully leave them alone,” said Frost.
If your children bring home a wild “orphan,” the experts say you should immediately return it to the exact spot where it was found. In the rare instance when a fawn or other newborn is found and the mother is known to be dead, please contact the nearest game warden, biologist or Game and Fish Regional Office, and do not attempt to capture these animals yourself.
Possession of game and many non-game animals is forbidden by state and federal laws so trying to "adopt" newborn wildlife is illegal. Possession of newborn wildlife could result in a citations with a possible penalty of up to a $1,000 fine.