DEC warns St. Lawrence County residents to avoid newborn animals, birds this spring
The Department of Environmental Conservation is warning St. Lawrence County residents to avoid wildlife with newborn birds and animal encounters more likely this spring.
As spring moves into full bloom, you may encounter young or newborn wild animals. While a baby animal might appear abandoned, it is much more likely that a parent is in the area or the individual is an independent juvenile, DEC officials say.“Please do not touch a wild baby animal – call your regional DEC office or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if you are concerned for its well-being,” officials said/
DEC says many wildlife parents leave their young in a safe place, where they instinctively remain quiet and still to avoid detection by predators.
“The parents return periodically (sometimes only a few times within 24 hours) to feed the young,” officials said.
Fawns, cottontail rabbits, and fledgling birds are often the most common species that are mistakenly “rescued” by people thinking that the animals have been abandoned. “Unfortunately, this leads to the death of many young animals, as wildlife is difficult to raise in captivity,” official said.
It is also illegal to rehabilitate or keep wildlife in captivity without a license.
“If you come across a young, wild animal on its own, the best thing to do is leave it where it is and observe from a distance,” DEC said. “The parents may not approach their young if they sense you in the vicinity. Additionally, DEC reminds the public that young wildlife are not pets. Keeping wildlife in captivity is illegal and harmful to the animal. Wild animals are not well-suited to life in captivity and may carry diseases that can be harmful to humans.”
Anyone who observes wildlife that appears to be sick or behaving abnormally should contact their DEC regional wildlife office or a wildlife rehabilitator. You can find a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators at https://www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/sls_searches/index.cfm?p=live_rehab .