Human interaction with young animals does much more harm than good – Morning call

The usual spring ritual for a robin involves deciding what belongs in their nests, and what is an invasive piece of detritus or foreign material that needs to be thrown away.

Behavior is a useful lesson for people to leave everything in nature, especially at this time of year.

Birds can take care of themselves, experts say, and so are many other young wildlife that Pennsylvania is likely to face right now – including baby deer, raccoons, rabbits and other animals.

On Monday, the Game Commission issued a reminder that human interaction with these animals can do far more harm than good, and it is best to leave them alone.

All because residents perceive the young as abandoned, and this is usually not the case.

“People with good intentions can intervene to help a young animal that seems lonely without realizing that its mother is around and she doesn’t need help,” said Matthew Schnoop, director of wildlife at the Games Commission. release.

Schnup said leaving young wildlife alone is usually the best solution because animals have their own baby care strategies. Adults will go in search of food, but if they find potential predators nearby, they will distract from their offspring to make them less of a target.

The game commission said it most often happens to deer, which are usually considered abandoned. Instead, mothers keep their distance, except for short periods of breastfeeding, and allow the deer to choose their own bedding when they are more familiar with the surroundings.

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Even rapid contact with humans can be detrimental to wildlife, the Game Commission said, making it difficult or even impossible for animals to live normally in the wild again. And while it’s a myth that human odor makes a mother abandon a baby, the scent can attract more predators, putting the animal at greater risk.

According to the National Deer Association, most deer that fall from predators die within the first 10 days of life, so they should never be treated unless they are in immediate danger.

In addition to the fact that the animal is at risk, people who intervene in the wild are also at risk of contracting diseases or parasites such as fleas, ticks and lice.

The Games Commission wants to remind residents that it is illegal to choose or own wildlife from the wild. Under state law, the fine for such a violation is up to $ 1,500 per animal.

Public health officials also say that any species of “high-risk” rabies carriers (bats, coyotes, foxes, marmots, raccoons, and skunks) confiscated after contact with humans should be euthanized and tested; it cannot be returned to the wild because the risk of spreading the disease is too high.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators have the right to care for injured or orphaned animals. They can be found on the website of the Pennsylvania Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators, www.pawr.comor by calling the game commission at 610-926-3136.

The morning call content editor Stephanie Sigafus can be contacted at

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