Wildlife officials warn residents about ‘rescuing’ baby wildlife

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 5:50 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s a warning for the public, as it’s baby season for our diverse wildlife.

From now through monsoon, you’ll be seeing more infant animals out, and officials are urging caution.

During this time, wildlife experts see higher intakes for baby wildlife and it’s not always for the right reason.

Wildlife officials say their message for residents is to simply just leave baby wildlife alone. Just because you see them and they’re alone, it doesn’t mean they’ve been abandoned.

“People mistakenly think these critters are abandoned, when in fact their mother is probably just off somewhere feeding. If you attempt to rescue them, you’re going to separate them from their mother permanently AND you may doom them to a life of captivity or worse,” said Mark Hart of Arizona Game and Fish.

Game and Fish say they are seeing an increase in calls like this, where good Samaritans believe they are rescuing an animal that has lost their mother. They see it with all different species, but most recently had a baby javelina and bobcat brought in.

“It’s a well-intended thought, but the practical application of it is not good. You’re not qualified to handle wildlife, it’s wild. It can not only lose its mother in the process, but cause Injury,” Hart said.

Not only injury, if you hold wildlife captive, even after a so-called rescue, it could cost you.

“The penalty for illegally possessing wildlife in Arizona is four months in jail and a $750 fine maximum,” he explained.

Over at Tucson Wildlife Center, they are also seeing an increase in calls from concerned residents about orphaned wildlife.

“We’re getting a lot of birds. We’ve got some hawks, owls, everything from doves to hummingbirds,” said Hubert Parker, the development coordinator.

TWC tries to help callers assess the situation before bringing the animal in. they say just because you see a baby animal alone, it doesn’t mean it’s really alone.

“Usually the mother is around whether you see a baby bobcat or a coyote puppy. If they’re healthy, they’re getting fed,” Parker said.

But there are sometimes where an animal might need your help.

“If they’re hurt, they’ve been hit by a car, if they’re injured, that’s when you should call us and we will certainly help out,” he says.

Both of these agencies have help lines, so if you find a wild, baby animal, but you’re not sure what to do, they can walk you through it.

For more information about what to do, click here or here.

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