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.