Florida Fish and Wildlife asks residents to leave ‘abandoned’ baby wildlife alone
Florida Fish and Wildlife has asked Florida residents to leave abandoned baby wildlife alone. According to a press release, FWC says that at this time of year, they routinely receive calls from well intentioned individuals who report baby wildlife believed to be in need of rescue. FWC says these rescues are not only unnecessary, they may prove harmful in the long run.
The FWC says that many times the mother of the seemingly abandoned baby animal is actually foraging for food and hasn’t abandoned the baby at all. It almost seems like a case of the child’s classic book ‘Are you my Mother’ as the mother is providing food for her young and will return. Unfortunately, when people mistake the baby animal as abandoned, they may cause the offspring to become permanently separated from his or her parent.
A baby fawn is commonly mistaken as abandoned and is often the subject of unnecessary deer rescues, says the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
“In most cases, it is absolutely not in the fawn’s best interest to try and rescue it,” said Allan Hallman, wildlife biologist at the FWC’s Camp Blanding field office.
Mother deer often place baby fawn in secluded remote areas as they forage for food. They often use areas such as palmetto patches or areas after a burn as the smell will mask the deer’s scent, protecting it from predators. Allan Hallman states that when people mistake fawn as abandoned and remove them from their environment, the stress often proves fatal.
“Unfortunately, actions of this kind usually have the opposite effect of a rescue. The stress created by changing the animal’s diet and surroundings is often fatal.
If the rescued fawn manages to survive, its return to the wild is practically impossible because of human imprinting or a lack of survival skills. If it had remained wild, the young deer would have learned the necessary survival skills from its mother,” Hallman said.
He also recommends people not feed the animals as this interferes with their normal diets and routines for gathering food.
You may find more tips on how to live successfully with Florida wildlife including black bears, panthers, alligators, birds, sea turtles, crocodiles and alligators, manatees, burrowing owls and more here: Living with Florida Wildlife