Leave newborn wildlife in the wild

Spring means fawning season; learn what’s normal for East Kootenay wildlife.

  • Apr. 29, 2013 10:00 a.m.
Fawning season is at hand. Exercise caution around the wildlife.

Fawning season is at hand. Exercise caution around the wildlife.

Little baby deer, elk and moose are being born all around the East Kootenay, and provincial biologists are explaining what to do if you encounter a newborn animal this spring in a government release.

Newborn deer, elk and moose are often left alone temporarily by their mother, who will return. But many people who see the newborns alone think they have been abandoned.

It’s important not to get involved if you see a baby animal left alone, according to biologists.

“Intervening in these situations by ‘rescuing’ the fawn or calf is rarely necessary and will usually do more harm than good,” said the government release Friday.

Mother deer, elk and other ungulates normally leave their young for long periods, returning several times during the day to nurse the newborn, relying on its lack of scent to protect it from predators.

But if the mother returns to find humans or pets near the newborn, it may leave or become aggressive to defend their offspring from the perceived threat.

If humans move the offspring, they will be orphaned. They can be reared in wildlife rehabilitation facilities, but their chances of survival are far less without maternal care.

Many mammals leave their young alone, returning at regular intervals to feed.

“So, if you encounter a young deer or calf in the wild at this time of the year, appreciate the experience, but don’t approach or intervene,” reads the government release.

If you find a fawn or calf that you think may be orphaned, here’s what you should do:

• If it is lying quietly, leave it alone and leave the area. Your presence will discourage the mother from returning.

• Keep all children and especially dogs away from the area.

• If you think the fawn or calf is not being cared for by its mother, return the next day to check. If it is in the exact same spot, it may be injured or orphaned. Contact a conservation officer as soon as possible, but do not touch or move the animal.

• Do not touch or feed the animal.