Keep Wildlife Wild: Know What To Do If You Encounter Baby Wild Animals This Spring



As warmer spring weather approaches, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding the public that wild animals and their offspring will be on the move in Wisconsin.

Knowing what to do before you find a baby animal can make all the difference in the moment to protect its health and help keep wildlife wild. DNR has a variety of resources to help determine when baby wild animals need help and when it is best to leave them in their natural habitat.

If You Care, Leave Them There

First, remember the phrase, « If you care, leave them there. »

Often times, it’s perfectly natural for mothers to leave their cubs alone for long periods of time, including white-tailed deer. Deer stay alone for hours, staying quiet and still, before they are strong enough to keep up with their mothers. This natural behavior protects them from predators while their mothers search for food.

Noticing a deer’s location can alert predators or keep its mother away for longer than she would like. You can help by keeping people and pets out of the area. If you have children who are interested, they can learn to keep the wildlife wild by observing the fawn from a safe distance.

Many other young wild animals spend time alone in the spring and summer. For species-specific advice, visit the DNR’s Wildlife Preserve webpage for tips on how to decide whether a young wild animal is truly an orphan or in need of assistance. You can also use bird, mammal, or fawn keys for guidance in assessing wildlife situations and choosing an appropriate course of action.

Know When to Move a Baby Pet

If you find a baby animal in an unsafe place, such as near a highway, you can carefully move it a few meters to a safer spot. Before taking action, be sure to wear gloves and a face mask to protect the animal’s health. Also, consider your own safety when walking near a road.

The young animal’s mother will find her cub if she is moved a short distance. Human odor transfer will not cause wild animals to reject their offspring, but avoid touching a baby animal unless absolutely necessary.

Helping Sick or Injured Wild Animals

If you find a wild animal that looks sick or injured, leave it alone. Take pictures and make notes about what you observe. Then call DNR or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for guidance. Visit the DNR website for a directory of rehabilitation professionals in your area.

If the wildlife rehabilitator you speak with determines that a wild animal needs rehabilitation, place the animal in a ventilated container. Place the container in a dark, warm, and quiet location until you can arrange transportation to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center. Reduce stress on the animal by keeping children and pets away. Do not give food or water; This could do more harm than good. See our Wildlife Relocation Recommendations webpage for more information.


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Written by mbenfoddil

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