DEC cautions against disturbing fawns and other young wildlife by urging New Yorkers, “If You Care, Leave Them There.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently reminded New Yorkers to appreciate wildlife from a safe distance and resist the urge to touch or pick up newborn fawns and other young wildlife. Human contact with wildlife can carry unintended consequences detrimental to the animals people intend to help.
“At this time of year, New Yorkers may encounter young or newborn wild animals in their yards and mistakenly think they need help to survive,” Commissioner Seggos said. “While a baby rabbit or a recently fledged bird might appear abandoned, a parent is likely nearby, trying to remain out of view. Please do not touch a wild baby animal; instead, enjoy encounters with wildlife from a distance. Remember-if you care, leave it there.”
DEC advises during spring months, animal sightings and encounters are common. Young wildlife quickly venture into the world, albeit on wobbly legs or fledgling wings on their own. While most young wildlife learn survival skills from their parents, some receive little or no care and rely on evolutionary instincts.
“In many cases, wild animals stay away from their young, especially when people or pets are present. For these young animals, the perils of survival are a natural part of life in the wild. Well-intentioned individuals may attempt to care for young wild animals they believe to be abandoned or in need of assistance.” Generally such human interactions do more harm than good.
White-tailed deer fawns are typically born during late May and early June and, “Although fawns can walk shortly after birth, they spend most of their first several days lying still in tall grass, leaf litter, or sometimes relatively unconcealed. During this period, a fawn is usually left alone by the adult female (doe), except when nursing. People occasionally find a lone fawn and mistakenly assume it has been abandoned, which is rare.
If human presence is detected by the doe, the doe may delay its next visit to nurse. Fawns should never be picked up. A fawn’s best chance to survive is to be raised by the adult doe. Fawns nurse three to four times a day, usually for less than 30 minutes at a time, but otherwise the doe keeps her distance, which helps reduce the chance a predator will follow her to the fawn.”
Whitetail deer fawns are naturally camouflaged. Coupled with their innate ability to remain motionless for long periods, they can avoid detection by predators and people. After about 10 weeks, fawns “…are no longer dependent on milk, although they continue to nurse occasionally into the fall.”
DEC also set out to remind the public that young wildlife should not be kept as pets. “Keeping wildlife in captivity is illegal and harmful to the animal. Wild animals are not well-suited for life in captivity and may carry diseases that can be transferred to humans. Anyone who observes wildlife that appear to be sick or behaving abnormally should contact their DEC regional wildlife office.”
If you observe young wildlife that’s obviously injured or orphaned, call a wildlife rehabilitator. “Wildlife rehabilitators are trained volunteers licensed by DEC. They are the only people legally allowed to receive and treat distressed wildlife. They have the experience, expertise, and facilities to successfully treat and release wild animals.”
If you want to save wild birds around your home, keep pets indoors when young animals are present. “Many fledgling birds cannot fly when they first leave the nest and are easy prey for a house cat.”
For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about young wildlife, visit DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov.
Happy Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping until next time.
News and Notes
Lake Taghkanic Bass Tournament Kicks Off on Saturday, June 19: Columbia County resident and local bass fishing tournament promoter, Bill Johnson recently announced he is resuming the annual Lake Taghkanic Bass Tournament. It kicks off on Saturday, June 19 from 4-11 a.m. Entry is $40 per person and includes lunker prize entry.
Weigh-in is at West Beach. 100% pay-out for 1st place, 30% for 2nd 25%, 20% for 4th and 15% for 5th 10% with 6th place winning their entry fee back. Tournament rules are five fish per boat, fish must be alive at weigh-in, live bait’s allowed. Boats must have a live-well. For more information call Bill Johnson at (518) 537-5455. Subsequent tournaments scheduled on for July 17, July 31 and August 14.
Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.
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