Dan Bergeron: (603) 271-2461
Jay Martin: (603) 271-3211
April 8, 2019
CONCORD, NH — With the arrival of spring, many species of wildlife are giving birth to their young. Seeing young wildlife can be exciting, but in most cases, even if it appears abandoned, the mother is not far off. If you encounter young wildlife, even young animals that appear to need help, the kindest and safest thing to do is to leave them alone. Many adult animals will intentionally leave their young for extended periods to eat and to lead predators away from them, returning later to feed their offspring where they left them.
“Young wild animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, typically have their best chance of surviving when they are in their own natural environment,” explains N.H. Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Dan Bergeron.
Only qualified people with special rehabilitator permits, issued through the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, may shelter and care for injured or orphaned wildlife. Improper care of injured or orphaned wildlife often leads to their sickness or death. It is illegal in New Hampshire, unless you have rehabilitator credentials, to remove wildlife from its natural environment and keep it in captivity.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and local wildlife rehabilitators have been taking numerous reports from people who have picked up young animals, often mistakenly thinking they are orphans.
“Picking up young animals is an error in judgment,” says Bergeron. “People think they’re doing a good deed, but they are often removing the animal from the care of its parents and potentially exposing themselves to the risk of disease. Your actions may result in the animal having to be euthanized for rabies testing. Give wildlife plenty of space and leave them alone and in the wild, where they belong.”
What should you do if you find a young animal that is injured or has not been visited by its mother in over 24 hours? Report the location of the animal to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (603) 271-2461.
To learn more about young wildlife in the Granite State visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/deer/fawns.html.