With summer comes young, wild animals venturing from their nests and hiding places under the watchful eyes of their parents. Young animals often stray and appear to be abandoned; that’s when humans need to resist the urge to help, wildlife experts say.
Some species, including birds, deer and snakes, are very active this time of year and are being seen more frequently.
“Many people discover apparently lost or abandoned wildlife young and take them in, thinking they are doing the right thing, and this sometimes does more harm than good,” said Mark Klym of the Wildlife Diversity branch at TPWD. “People should leave young animals alone unless they are obviously injured or orphaned. It is best to observe a wild creature from a distance for a while in order to make that determination.”
Staying too close to the baby may keep its mother from returning, Klym said.
Deer will typically leave their fawns for hours at a time, returning only to nurse them. Fawns are often discovered lying quietly in tall grass or brushy areas.
Well-meaning people sometimes pick up these fawns, thinking that they have been abandoned by their mothers and need help. This is rarely the case. According to Klym, “In most cases, the fawns’ mothers are just out of sight, and the baby birds are still being protected and fed by the parents.”
If it is determined that a wild animal is sick or injured call the TPWD wildlife information line, 512-389-4505, during business hours for a referral to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
After-hours callers can get the names of rehabilitators from TPWD’s dispatch line at 512-389-4848 or by accessing the department’s website.
Unfortunately, Live Oak County does not have any licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Before taking possession of that wild animal, become familiar with regulations to prevent incurring a fine.
For more information, go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/permits/land/wildlife/rehab/ to learn more about the Texas wildlife rehabilitation permitting program, regulations and warnings about dangerous diseases that animals can transfer to humans.
“The overall message is that wildlife should be left alone,” said Klym. “Wild animals are best left in the wild.”