Wildlife experts: Don’t touch the baby animals

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A fawn sleeps in the warm sunny grass at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., Friday, May 31, 2019. A mother deer usually leave their fawns for a period of time to forage for food. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Wildlife experts want you to resist bringing home all wild baby animals, no matter how cute they are. 

May through July is the birthing season for many species in Oregon, including deer and elk. 

But the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says if you spot a fawn or calf that seems to be alone, don’t touch it and definitely don’t take it home with you. 

Mother animals often leave their babies alone for long periods of time while they go off to find food but they always return when it’s safe to do so. 

Many well-intentioned people take baby animals out of their environments, thinking the creatures are orphaned. 

But meddling does far more harm than good. 

The ODFW said its offices, licensed wildlife rehabilitation centers and even Oregon State Police are flooded with calls this time of year from people who pick up young deer, elk, birds and other baby animals because they thought that they were orphaned. 

Experts said taking the young creatures out of their natural environments robs them of the chance to learn important survival skills from their parents and this actually leads to shortened lifespans for the animals. 

Removing or capturing a wild animal is also illegal. The offense carries a maximum fine of $6,250 and/or one year in jail. 

If you are sure a young animal is orphaned because you saw its mother die or its parent has not returned for several hours, or if you see an injured animal or one in distress, contact one of Oregon’s licensed wildlife rehabilitation centers or your nearest ODFW office, or Oregon State Police dispatch if an animal is in distress. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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