April 22, 2014
EDITOR'S ADVISRY: A 30-second audio public service announcement featuring DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp on Keeping Wildlife Wild is available by clicking on the audio link below.
MADISON -- Mother Nature's wildlife nursery will be swinging into high gear over the next two months, and state wildlife officials are reminding people that this nursery operates much differently than a human nursery.
"Wild animal mothers care for their young differently than human mothers, said Tami Ryan, wildlife health section supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "It is common for wild animal parents to leave their babies unattended for periods of time while they gather food. For some species, leaving babies hidden and unattended is an adaptation to protect them from predators."
Ryan says spring and early summer is the peak period when people discover baby wild animals.
"The most common situations we see involve deer, rabbits, raccoons and bird nestlings, and we want to offer advice on how to we can all help keep Wisconsin's wildlife wild," she said.
Ryan advises that sometimes it can be hard to know if the wild animal someone finds is truly in need of help. If someone thinks a wild animal is in need of assistance, Ryan cautions that they should not touch the animal. The first thing they should do is call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or contact the DNR's Call Center at 1-888-936-7463.
Mandy Kamps, DNR wildlife biologist and a member of the multi-agency Keep Wildlife Wild initiative, agrees, saying, "If you find a baby wild animal on its own don't assume it's orphaned."
Kamps cites these examples for common wildlife species:
"While our first human instinct may be to rush in and try to assist, the best thing for these youngsters is to leave them alone," Kamps said.
In addition, Ryan recommends visiting DNR's Keep Wildlife Wild webpage. The webpage provides a lot of helpful information on how to tell if a baby animal is truly orphaned, as well as, how to contact one of Wisconsin's licensed wildlife rehabilitators and how to help injured or sick wildlife.
The Keep Wildlife Wild campaign offers the following tips:
More information is available by searching the DNR website for "orphan."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tami Ryan 608-266-3143, Mandy Kamps, 715-359-5508)