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Friday, May 24, 2019 « 29

Help Keep Young Wildlife Wild This Spring In Colorado


ach spring Colorado welcomes an abundance of new life, including young wildlife across the state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds residents and visitors that if you see young wildlife in the coming weeks and months leave them alone. without human intervention. In fact, To protect these animals, it is important human intervention most often does that people don’t feed, don’t approach more harm than good. and don’t harass. Young wildlife is frequently left alone Many birds and mammals give birth in a safe location while adult animals go this time of the year. Now through June, on the search for food. Young fawns and newborn calves are wildlife may left for long Each year, people report or bring in be found in periods of “abandoned” young wildlife to CPW offices. backyards, time and Very rarely are these animals truly alone; trails, open mothers are usually nearby feeding. CPW needs are safer spaces and when they your help in educating your audience on the even in parkare left ing lots in importance of leaving young wildlife alone. alone. If rare instances. It's imperative that people don't handle, you come Every year don't feed and don't harass young wildlife. across during spring young and early summer, Colorado Parks and wildlife, do not approach them as the Wildlife receives numerous calls reportmother is probably nearby. ing young wildlife that has been “aban“We are asking people to be responsidoned” by adult animals. Well-meaning ble and play a part in protecting Colanimal lovers are often tempted to help a orado’s wildlife by not touching young young animal by picking it up or feeding wildlife,” said Shannon Schaller, senior it, but these are the wrong things to do. wildlife biologist for the Northeast reYoung animals do not need rescuing and gion. “Baby mammals are scentless in have been prepared by nature to survive order to prevent predators from finding EP News/Kris Hazelton

Photos courtesy CPW

ents afraid to return. them. When humans touch these animals they leave behind an unfamiliar “Young wildlife has the best chance of scent not recognizable to the adult anisurvival when they are left in the care of mals and that can cause them to become their wild parents. Humans trying to asfearful. This can cause true abandonsist young wildlife rarely leads to a good ment of otherwise healthy offspring, and outcome,” said Schaller. “Wild animals put the survival of that baby in quesare not our pets. Not only is it illegal to tion.” keep and feed most wildlife as your own, but it will also lead to a poor chance of During this time of the year, it is also common for baby birds to be found out- survival if they are ever returned to the wild. Be a friend to young wildlife, and side of their nests, leading people think don’t touch or feed them if you come these birds have been abandoned. But across these this often animals this happens when If you come across young wildlife this spring.” birds are spring, do not approach or handle them! learning how HumanThough many people believe these animals raised and to fly. Most likely, they are abandoned and want to help, their hand-fed anihave landed mals are mother is most likely very nearby. very near rarely retheir nests. turned to the wild due to their lack of survival skills. Because birds do not have a highly deLicensed wildlife rehabilitators are veloped sense of smell, baby songbirds trained to use methods that will give a can be picked up and moved wild animal the best chance of surviving out of harm's way or placed back in their nests if absolutely upon release. CPW asks people to call their nearest office o work with these renecessary. The young of raphabilitators to ensure the best outcome tors, however, are a different for animals. story. Great-horned owls and other raptors are territorial and In addition to potential harm to the anhave been known to fly directly imal, there is a potential for harm to huat humans seen as a threat to mans. Handling wildlife poses risks, intheir young. cluding disease transmission of rabies, distemper or other illnesses. Wildlife can If you do encounter young also carry fleas that might subsequently wildlife on the trail or in your spread disease to humans or pets. yard, leave the animal where it is and be careful to keep pets If you see young wildlife this spring, out of the area. Use binoculars admire them from a safe distance and to quietly view the animal from then move on quietly. For more infora distance. Do not get too close mation on living with wildlife, visit to the animals as human may make the wild parWildlife

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Estes Park News, May 24, 2019  

Estes Park News, May 24, 2019