On May 23, 2016

They don’t need your help. Really.

Courtesy of VTF&W

Young wildlife need to be left in the wild, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Deer fawns may seem abandoned, but their mothers typically are nearby and will return when people are not in the area.

Watching wildlife is enjoyable, especially when young animals appear in the spring. But it’s best to keep your distance. Picking up young wildlife can do more harm than good, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. It’s also against the law.

When people see young animals alone, they often mistakenly assume they are helpless or lost and need to be rescued. Picking up young wildlife often results in separation from their mothers and a sad ending for the animal.

Handling wildlife can also pose a threat to the people involved. Wild animals can transmit diseases such as rabies and parasites such as raccoon roundworm that can infect people.

Fish & Wildlife scientists encourage wildlife watchers to respect the behavior of animals in the spring and early summer and to resist the urge to pick them up or assist wildlife in ways that may be harmful. They offer these helpful tips:

Deer and moose nurse their young at different times during the day, often leaving them alone for long periods of time. These animals are not lost.Their mother knows where they are and will return.

Young birds on the ground may have left their nest, but their parents will still feed them.

Many wildlife species will not feed or care for their young when people are close by. Obey signs that restrict access to wildlife nesting areas, including hiking trails that may be temporarily closed.

Keep domestic pets indoors, leashed or fenced in. Dogs and cats kill many baby wild animals each year.

Avoid removing trees, shrubs and dead snags that may contain nests during the spring and summer.

Beware of rabies

Even though they do not show symptoms, healthy-looking young raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats also may also be carriers of the deadly rabies virus.

For information about rabies and nuisance wildlife, call the Vermont Rabies Hotline at 1-800-4RABIES (1-800-472-2437). If bitten or in direct contact with a raccoon, fox, skunk, or bat, or a domestic animal that has been in contact with one of these species, call the Vermont Department of Health at 1-800-640-4374.

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