Can Helping Baby Wildlife Can Do More Harm Than Good?
Baby animals of all species are absolutely wonderful, and spring is the time to observe this gift from nature. From fluffy bunnies to dappled fawns, people find baby wildlife absolutely irresistible.
Part of the fascination with baby wildlife includes a glimpse into the world of animal parenting and family life. Animal mothers and fathers have to leave the dens or nests to find food, and through no fault of their own, utterly helpless baby wildlife can sometimes be orphaned or abandoned. It’s natural for animal lovers want to help baby wildlife, but getting too involved can be equally dangerous.
Animal Lovers Unite
It can be a hard reality to face, but not all baby wildlife make it. That’s the truth even when they have the protection of their parents.
Sometimes, wild parents have to be away from their babies for longer than expected due to food shortages or other challenges. It’s also not uncommon for parents of baby wildlife to never return home. If you find a baby animal, it’s crucial to get a handle on the possible ways to get involved before trying to help.
People that find baby wildlife on their own always have good intentions, but before any decisions are made, careful observations must be drawn. Observe the setting closely, but don’t hover – your proximity to baby wildlife may inhibit the parent from returning. Keep your pets and small children as far away as possible.
You might need to wait all day in order to ascertain that the mother/father aren’t returning home. Touching baby wildlife or messing with the nest/den can actually cause parents to shun their young.
Generally speaking, you can discern that baby wildlife need help by simply running through this list about their appearance:
- Is the baby bleeding or suffering from an obvious injury/fall?
- Is the baby calling out for help?
- Is the baby wildlife covered in parasites?
Conduct a thorough scan of the area near the nest/den to see if the baby’s parent is hurt. For your own protection, approach with extreme caution.
Intervening With Baby Wildlife
Human intervention can be connected to higher mortality rates in baby wildlife. However, reaching out to someone on the list of Illinois Department of Natural Resources Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitators can be informative. While our team may be able to direct you to the right resource by phone, please do not bring wildlife to Springbrook Animal Care Center.
Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Our friends at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center treat injured, sick, and orphaned native animals. To provide the best possible service to animals in need, such as water fowl or opossums, specific restrictions are in place regarding non-native animals and other species like skunks, beavers, sparrows and pigeons.
When it comes to helping baby wildlife and other animals in need, Willowbrook Wildlife Center is a phenomenal resource and can be reached at (630-942-6200). Please check out their Native Wildlife Rescue Advice for tips on handling and transport.