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Contact(s): Dianne Robinson, 262-424-9827
April 4, 2017

MADISON -- Get out the binoculars! There's excitement in Wisconsin's woods, fields and backyards as young wild animals emerge, making spring a fun time to observe wildlife from a distance.

Dianne Robinson, a Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist who chairs a multi-agency Keep Wildlife Wild committee, reminds observers to watch the fun of the young animals from afar.

Young wildlife like this raccoon are often left alone by their mothers but are not abandoned.
Young wildlife like this raccoon are often left alone by their mothers but are not abandoned.
Photo Credit: DNR

"We need to resist our well-intentioned temptation to interact with a young animal we perceive to be on its own," Robinson said. "Human interaction often does more harm than good in these situations."

Licensed wildlife rehabilitator and Keep Wildlife Wild committee member Cheryl Diehl says never assume an animal is orphaned.

"Some wildlife mothers leave their young unattended to gather food or to protect them from predators," she said. "It may seem to the human eye the young are not being cared for because you can't see the mother. Chances are she knows you're there."

Experts suggest watching the animal through binoculars during the day. If the animal is genuinely orphaned or injured, don't touch or feed the animal and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling the DNR Customer Service at 1-888-DNRINFO (1-888-936-7463) or by visiting the DNR website,, and search keyword: rehab.

DNR Wildlife Biologist Michelle Carlisle says the care of young animals varies for wildlife species.

"This is why this is an interesting time to learn more about Wisconsin's animals. Fawns are born with spots and very little scent to hide them from predators. A fawn found lying still and by itself should be left alone," Carlisle said. "Young raccoons are often seen playing in trees or yards without their mother, but she is nearby."

DNR Wildlife Biologist Julie Widholm says geese and ducks will sit on their nest for a month. "A stationary goose is likely not injured, but incubating her eggs," Widholm said. "Fledgling songbirds leave nests without parental supervision and before they are capable of flight."

Robinson says the committee works to help prevent orphaned or injured wildlife situations. Here are additional tips from the Keep Wildlife Wild experts:

For more tips and facts about how wildlife care for their young search the DNR website,, for keywords "keep wildlife wild."

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 04, 2017

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