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Spring Wildlife Advice from CPW

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds us to be aware of ourselves, our behavior and our proximity to wild animals and their newborns.  We love them and they are amazing and incredibly delicate and beautiful. We quite naturally desire to connect with nature – often by getting up close, by touching with our hands or by feeding with inappropriate and sometimes deadly foods – all of which are dangerous and harmful behaviors.

 

Never feed wildlife! Remember, feeding wildlife is illegal and has been since 1992. Game animals – Elk, Deer, Big Horn Sheep, Pronghorns – are ungulates with complex four-chambered stomachs that digest foraged foods via fermentation. Corn and Grain are toxic to ruminants! So far, in May of this year, one bighorn Ram and three deer were found dead as the result of human feeding.  Feeding wildlife does more harm than good.  Be conscientious about your choices – enjoy nature and abundant wild life without feeding or endangering the animals.

 

Never Intervene with Wild Babies or Their Mothers!  Weather in feathers or in fur, it is very, very rare for a wild mom to abandon her offspring.  It is quite normal for adults animals to leave their babes in safe places while they forage or hunt.

 

CPW reminds us that baby mammals have no scent so predators can’t find them.   If you are fortunate enough to come upon a little one, look, don’t touch, don’t feed, and don’t get too close.  Chances are good that mom is closer than you think and will smell and see you long before you see her.  This is especially true if you are walking with your dog. Moose, Elk, Deer, and Sheep are extremely sensitive to the presence of dogs (predators!) so keep your pet leashed and quiet so as not to disturb the moms or the babes.  Remember, new moms are jumpy, nervous, easily agitated, some weigh over 600 pounds.  If you are more than noticed, if you are being watched or stared at, if a head is down or a hoof is pawed, you are way too close and probably in danger! Back away. Remember, both furred and feathered little ones are easily terrified and can be frightened to death by human or canine contact.

 

If you notice a wild babe alone for 24 hours, call the Rangers or Colorado Department of Wildlife, or even the local Police Department who will get in touch with the right Wildlife Responders.  They’ll know how to best handle the situation and the babe so everyone is safe and well.

 

We love our wildlife friends and visitors. It is always a thrill when the elk come for breakfast or the Big Horns come for snack.  As is best for them, they eat what nature provides.  What’s best for us as stewards of land and nature is to honor and respect, enjoy and protect by being conscientious observers —  aware of ourselves, responsible for our behavior, and respectful of wild life in the beautiful environment around us.

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