Leave Wildlife in the Wild

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2015

Leave Wildlife in the Wild

Wildlife officials discourage handling young animals

COLUMBUS, OH – The spring season has arrived, and so too has the season for Ohioans to enjoy spotting young wildlife. Each year, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officials offer this simple advice, enjoy wildlife from a distance and leave young animals in the wild.Many adult wild animals will leave their young offspring alone while they forage for food, or to divert the attention of potential predators away from the more vulnerable young. When young animals are discovered with no adults in sight, the adult is often nearby waiting for people to leave the area before they retrieve their young.

Most wild animals are raised by only one adult or are not tended to during the daylight hours. In the case of white-tailed deer, a doe will hide her young from predators by leaving it alone in a secluded spot, such as a grassy meadow or a flower bed. A hidden fawn has virtually no scent and when left alone is difficult for predators to find. The doe will tend to the fawn or fawns several times each night.

It is important to leave animals in the wild. If people disturb a nest, they should replace the young animals and the nest material as close to the original location as possible. It is a myth that wildlife parents will not tend to young because of human scent.

State and federal laws protect and regulate wildlife and endangered species in Ohio. Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators, working under special permits issued by the ODNR Division of Wildlife, may possess and care for native wild animals. These laws are in place for the benefit of humans as well as wild animals.

To further protect young and vulnerable wild animals, keep pets under control so they do not raid nests and injure wild animals. Keep pets inoculated against parasites and diseases.

Check for nests before cutting down trees or clearing brush. It is best to cut trees and clear brush in the autumn when nesting season is over.

Educate children to respect wildlife and their habitat, observing wildlife from a distance.

Contact your local wildlife official before taking action. Call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit wildohio.com to be connected with the proper individuals.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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For more information, contact:
John Windau, ODNR Division of Wildlife
419-429-8359
Matt Eiselstein, ODNR Office of Communications
614-265-6860