It’s that time again – wild babies are everywhere! As wonderful as calves and fawns and pups and kits are, Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) reminds us not to approach, touch or handle young animals as they are best cared for by their parents.
It seems strange to us that animal “infants” are left alone by their mothers but it is to their advantage and for their benefit. Young elk and deer and moose, for example, carry no scent, blend well in to their surroundings, and learn to stay still, silent and safe while their mothers forage and gain the nutrition they need to recover from birthing and produce milk for the young ones to nurse.
From now through mid-summer, visitors are likely to see young animals that appear alone in the forest, in backyards, on or near trails or along the sides of roads. Rest assured, they have not been abandoned. If you seen a baby, move away quickly. Never get between a mom and her offspring. If you are a parent, you understand why. An Elk cow will know you are close and both see and smell you long before you see her. The same holds true for Deer and Moose mothers, so do not approach or attempt to get the baby animal to move. They are safe and secure right where they are and mom is probably a lot closer than you may realize.
CDW reminds us also to keep our pets leashed and/or under control. As much as we love them and as domesticated as they are at home, in the woods, dogs and cats are natural predators. Canines and Felines acting on their natural instincts will find young animals, birds and bird eggs, and can attack, kill, or even frighten a babe to death.
Last but not least, we are reminded to never, ever feed wildlife. We are very fortunate that our area is abundant with plenty of natural food available to support our wildlife community. We are not helping when we feed peanuts to the Picas or seeds to the chipmunks. We are, in fact, damaging them and hurting their chances of survival through the coming winter.
As much we would love to touch, to feel, to get close and ooh and aah over babies of any species, it is up to us to honor our wildlife, to be respectful and considerate of their needs, personal space, and natural processes. Remember we live in their backyard. Keep to a safe distance. Look. Don’t approach or touch. Never Feed. Be calm. Be quiet. Be respectful. Be safe, and ensure the safety of your little ones. Use the Zoom. You’ll still have a wonderful wildlife viewing experience and everything around you will benefit by your good manners.