WYOMING — In the next several weeks, wildlife throughout Wyoming will be bearing their young. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department urges people who find young animals this spring to leave these wildlife newborns alone.
Most mammal mothers hide their young and return to them periodically to nurse. People finding these young mammals often assume these newborns have been abandoned, but this is almost never the case. The mother knows where her young are, and will almost certainly return to care for them.
Young birds will sometimes fall out or get pushed out of their nests before they are able to fly. The mother bird will care for the young bird while it is on the ground, bringing food and trying to protect the youngster while it is in this vulnerable situation.
Getting too close to some newborn wildlife can be very dangerous. A mother bear or moose will display very aggressive behavior when humans get close to their young. It is a good idea to leave an area immediately if you encounter an aggressive wildlife mother with her young.
“The best option for people who come across newborn wildlife is to leave the animal alone,” said Ryan Kenneda, Elk Mountain game warden.
State and federal laws forbid possession of game and many nongame animals, so adopting newborn wildlife is illegal. Citations can be issued for possession of newborn wildlife with the possible penalty of up to a $1,000 fine.
If children bring home a wild “orphan,” immediately return it to the exact spot it was found. In the rare instance when a fawn or other newborn is found and the mother is known to be dead, contact the nearest game warden, biologist or Game and Fish Regional Office; do not attempt to capture these animals yourself.