It’s counterintuitive for us animal lovers to stumble across a seemingly stranded young wild animal, and leave it alone. Our motherly instincts kick in and we feel compelled to pick up that irresistible young creature thinking we just saved its life. According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, (CPW) nothing can be further from the truth.
Sharon Schaller, senior wildlife biologist said, “We are asking that the public take responsibility and play a part of protecting Colorado’s young wildlife by not touching young wildlife. Baby mammals are scentless in order to prevent predators from finding them. When people touch these animals they leave behind an unfamiliar scent not recognizable to the adult animal and can cause them to become fearful. This can cause true abandonment from otherwise healthy offspring, and put the survival of that baby in question.”
The CPW suggest that if you do find young wildlife, immediately remove yourself and your pets and keep your distance. If the young one is still there in 24 hours, call the experts. The CPW will work with a certified wildlife specialist to get the animal the help it needs. Whatever you do, they are clear, “Do not move the animal yourself.”
On a similar note, many people like to feed adult wildlife, especially in the summer when they are more visible and tourists are in town. But again, resist the urge. Wild animals are not meant to eat human food. In fact grain and corn can even kill certain big game mammals.
Deer, elk, bighorn sheep and the like have complex digestive systems with a four chambered stomach designed for plant-based foods. Messing with their natural eating habits can be toxic. Matt Martinez, a wildlife officer, said, “People think that feeding wildlife doesn’t negatively affect wildlife, but in reality it is irresponsible and often leads to the death of the animal being fed.”
To conclude, resist the temptation of trying to care for any wild animal. In this case, Mother Nature really does know best.