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West Virginia Wildlife
Leave Animals Alone
Katelyn Sykes WVDNR Advises To Leave Young Wildlife Alone

June 11, 2014
Reporter: Katelyn Sykes
Videographer: Brad Rice


It’s a unique time in West Virginia. Living in these mountains is a great opportunity to get out and look at the different wild flowers and animals.

But it’s also a time wildlife are having their babies and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is stressing that although they might be cute, they need to be left alone.

"These animals are wild animals,” said Rob Silvester, district wildlife biologist. “When we take them out of their natural setting, very often it's counter-productive. They don't do very well, and in most cases, it leads to their death."

DNR officials said just handling one of these animals can put them under so much stress it could kill them. They said they get a ton of calls about people spotting fawn alone. Most people who pick them up, or other young animals, think they are doing them a favor.

"The actual thing that they do is the mother will hide them and then go off and do whatever she does,” Silvester said. “People stumble on by them walking to their favorite trout stream or whatever and they first look around, don't see the mother, and they'll think it's been abandoned and it hasn't been. That's the natural way that the doe deer take care of their young."

The other risk you run by touching or picking up these animals are contracting diseases, parasites or rabies, especially with young fox and raccoons. One parasite can lead to blindness in infants and rabies can be deadly.

"If you don't get prompt medical treatment, in many cases people don't realize they've been infected until after the fact. It is a fatal disease," he said.

That is why the DNR is encouraging people to leave these guys alone and admire them from a distance. Not only is it good for your health, but theirs. Plus, they don’t make good pets and you couldn’t keep them anyway. It’s against the law.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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