Look but don’t touch — and even then, just have a quick glance and be on your way.
That’s the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s message to Delawareans, who are likely to see young wildlife outdoors this time of year.
DNREC reports that the best thing to do when encountering young animals of any species is to leave them alone, since their mothers are usually nearby.
Taking or “rescuing” a young wild animal usually means it will not survive, the department said. Thus, DNREC reminds residents: “If you care, leave them there.”
While some young animals may appear abandoned, most often they are not, with their mothers close by, waiting for onlookers to move away.
Many species, including white-tailed deer, will leave their young to forage for food, returning a few times a day and trusting their offspring’s natural instinct to lie quietly.
Handling or removing wildlife can be harmful to both animals and humans. Precautions to take include:
For help in determining if a young animal is orphaned or injured, contact the Delaware Council of Wildlife Rehabilitators & Educators here.
If a young animal appears injured and/or if you are certain its parent is dead, contact the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Section during business hours weekdays at 302-739-9912 or at 800-523-3336 after hours and on weekends.