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West Virginia Wildlife
Young Wildlife
Patrick McMurtry Leave Young Wildlife Alone!

May 30, 2012
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


There's something about seeing baby animals that melts the heart of just about everyone. Check out this baby buffalo calf...who wouldn't love to go up and pet it? Or maybe petting a wolf pup? As tempting as it is, getting too close to young wildlife is the wrong thing to do. And this is the time of year that you're likely to stumble across young wildlife you might think have been abandoned by their mothers.

Gene Thorn, a biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, explains why that's just not the case, "This is the time of the year that young wildlife are born, and really, the worst thing about this is people run into young wildlife, whether it's a fawn or some other type of animal and they think it's been abandoned by it's mother and the chance of that happening is very slim that it would get separated from its mother for any length of time."

Gene says while you might see a baby animal by itself, the mother is probably near by, out of sight. That's by design and is actually a way of protecting young animals in the wild.

Gene Thorn, DNR biologist says, "What they do, particularly whitetail deer, they'll leave their fawn hidden and they only visit it about four times a day to feed it and that's a natural way of avoiding predators. Young animals don't have a scent and their mother does, so she stays away from them most of the day." says Thorn.

I get asked all the time by folks who see a baby squirrel or raccoon and want to take them home as pets. Gene says that's a very bad idea and against the law.

"It's illegal in our state to possess wildlife without a permit and you just can't go and get different types of animals out of the wild like that.
Wild animals are wild animals and they do not make good pets. When they grow up, their behavior changes. Another examples is racoons. When they grow up they become vicious.
Don't touch it, just back off, leave the area and let the mother get it back in." says Thorn

Good advice which will not only save wildlife, but keep you out of trouble, too.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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