Help Young Wildlife By Remaining ‘Hands Off’

One of the many fawns spotted around Heart of the Rockies Radio in 2019.

It’s that time of year again: Brand new, spotted fawns have started appearing around the valley. But please, don’t touch or attempt to “rescue” them.

We just spotted our first fawn behind the radio station, and it couldn’t be more than a day or two old.

Every year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives scores of calls from concerned people about wildlife that has been “abandoned.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife often hears from citizens who want to “help” wildlife, however helping means keeping “hands off.” Many are tempted to rescue a young animal by picking it up or trying to feed it, however it is critical that people understand that the young have not been abandoned and the best thing they can do is leave the animal alone.

It is very normal for adult animals to leave their young in safe places while they go forage for food.

“Baby mammals are scentless in order to prevent predators from finding them,” said Janet George, senior terrestrial biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “When humans touch these animals, they are imparting them with a scent their adults will not recognize. This can result in true abandonment of healthy offspring.”

​If you find young wildlife, enjoy a quick glimpse, leave the animal where it is, and keep your pets out of the area. 

“If 24 hours go by and the parent has not returned, it is possible the parent is unable to return (hit by a car, for example),” said Jenny Campbell, customer service expert with CPW. In this situation, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife and they will provide aid for the animal. Please do not move the animal yourself.

Terry West
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