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Do not touch baby wildlife, CPW warns

Deer fawn
Posted at 1:03 AM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 12:29:35-04

Spring is here, bringing new life with it — and that goes for our wildlife, too. This is the time where fawns, cubs, and other newborn animals are getting acquainted with their new home.

If you live in Colorado, you may be lucky enough to spot a baby animal while roaming outside. But, you should know, they do not need your help. In fact, you could end up doing more harm than good by getting involved.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife sees a surge in calls regarding newborn animals in the springtime. Many people assume they have been abandoned, but that is overwhelmingly not the case.

Let's go over the three most common baby animal encounters, and their common misconceptions. First, there's fawns. If you see a fawn, it's usually alone and motionless, hiding in tall grass. Here's why: Mom is probably foraging for food nearby, and since they're still too weak to stand up on their own, it's safer for them to hide from predators.

How is hiding safer? Fawns are born scentless, and their white spots help them blend in. So, a predator won't know they're there. That's why you should never touch a fawn. You'd be imprinting your scent on it, therefore making it vulnerable to predators.

Meanwhile, bear cubs are now out and about. A few of them even visited our station recently. They're looking for food with momma bear. As long as you're not getting in between mom and her cubs - and your bear-proofing your trash - you can ignore them and they'll do the same.

Up in the trees, baby raptors like owls and hawks will be hatching, quickly becoming fledgling - or birds old enough to fly. If you find a young bird on the ground, do not take it anywhere. It probably just needs to reach a branch to make its way back to its nest.

CPW says the biggest take away here is: "Leave the babies alone, especially deer fawns" said Corey Adler, District Wildlife Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "Do not pick them up, do not put them in a box and take them to a fire station. Just leave them alone. They are fine, they are doing what they need to do and they are doing great."

If you have any concerns or questions, you should give CPW a call before you get involved. They will tell you the right course of action. You can call CPW's Southeast Regional office at 719-227-5200.