The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish & Wildlife reminded Delawareans that when encountering young wildlife of any species, the best thing to do is to leave the animals alone.
While some young animals appear to be abandoned, they usually are not, with their mothers nearby watching over them and waiting for people to move on. Wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, leave their young while they forage for food, visiting the young only a few times a day, with the young animals following their natural instinct to lie quietly, protecting them from predators.
Removing or handling wildlife can be harmful to humans and wildlife. Precautions to take with juvenile and adult wild animals include watch from a distance to see if its mother returns, which could take several hours; be aware that wild animals can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, especially if they are in pain; wild animals can carry parasites such as fleas and ticks or diseases such as rabies that can affect people and pets; and remember that it is illegal to raise or keep any wild animal in Delaware.
Taking a wild animal from the wild will almost certainly ensure that it will not survive, so DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is advising, “If you care, leave them there.”
For additional information to help determine if an animal is injured or orphaned, or exhibiting normal behavior and doesn’t need to be rescued, visit dewildliferescue.com/index.html.
If a young wild animal appears injured or if it is certain that its parent is dead, contact the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 739-9912 or after hours and weekends at 800-523-3336 to determine the appropriate course of action.