DNR: Leave baby animals alone|
As spring returns and Michigan's wild birds and animals
begin to produce the next generation of our living natural
resources, Michigan Department of Natural Resource officials
remind outdoor enthusiasts to leave wild animals in the
Doug Reeves, DNR Wildlife Division Supervisor, said wild
animals are protected by state regulations, and may not be
kept except by persons who possess Wildlife Rehabilitation
"Often, people find fledgling birds or baby fawns, and
believe they are rescuing the animal," Reeves said. "Many
people do not understand that most of the time, the mother
is nearby. We want everyone to enjoy their time outdoors in
Michigan, but leave the animals in the forest."
Reeves added that there are many biological and disease
problems associated with handling wild animals, including
distemper, rabies, parasites and mange.
"Those cuddly little raccoons that people find so
irresistible may be host to raccoon roundworm, a parasite
that can cause blindness and death if contracted by people,
especially youngsters," Reeves said. "Worse yet, those baby
raccoons eventually become sexually mature adults. If raised
illegally and tamed, they are still prone to bite humans and
attack household pets. The safety and disease risks just
aren't worth it. It is best in almost every case to leave
the animal where you found it."
Lt. Alan Marble, DNR district law enforcement supervisor,
said many Michigan residents have misconceptions about so-
called "orphan" white-tailed deer fawns. It is normal for
many wild animal species to leave their young unattended for
hours at a time. Deer, for example, leave their fawns for up
to 8 hours before returning to nurse.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time, the doe is nearby, having
planted her fawns in the grass where their sun-dappled
camouflage and lack of scent keep them protected," Marble
said. "Taking that fawn home is illegal, and, more
importantly, usually amounts to a death warrant for that
animal. A tamed deer will walk in front of a car, or try to
leap through a sliding glass door. A tamed buck can and
often will attack people when it becomes sexually mature and
begins to view humans as rivals, not as its 'friends.'
Its chances of surviving in the wild go down with each day
that it is kept as a pet."
Marble said residents who discover concrete evidence of an
'orphaned' animal - meaning the dead carcass of the mother
is immediately nearby - can contact the nearest DNR office.
The information will be investigated, and if it appears to a
trained observer to be a genuinely orphaned animal, it will
be taken to a permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator.