Ohio Wildlife Officials Encourage Well Meaning Individuals Not to Handle Wildlife
AKRON, OH – The Spring season has arrived and so too has the season for Ohioans to enjoy spotting young and sometimes seemingly abandoned wildlife. Each year, ODNR Division of Wildlife officials offer simple advice. Please leave wildlife alone and enjoy wildlife from a distance. A wild animal is capable of biting, scratching, and transmitting diseases and parasites to humans and pets. More often than not, baby animals are not abandoned and the parents will eventually retrieve their youngsters, especially when left alone by humans.
“When a biologist or a wildlife officer receives a call regarding a seemingly abandoned fawn for example, the first thing they suggest is to take the animal back to where it was found,” stated Scott Peters, assistant wildlife management supervisor for northeast Ohio. “Many wild animals are raised by only one adult or are not tended to during the daylight hours. A doe will hide her young from predators by leaving it alone in a secluded spot, such as a grassy meadow or a flower bed. A hidden fawn has virtually no scent and when left alone is difficult for predators to find. The doe tends to the fawn several times each night,” continued Peters.
State and federal laws protect and regulate wildlife and endangered species in Ohio. Only persons known as rehabilitators, under special permits issued by the Division of Wildlife, may possess and care for native wild animals.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife offers the following advice:
- Think before you act. Check for nests before cutting down trees or clearing brush. It is best to cut trees and clear brush in the autumn when nesting season is over.
- Leave the animal in the wild. If you disturb a nest, wear gloves and replace the babies and the nest material to the original location or as close as possible. It’s a myth that parents will not tend to the babies because of human scent. Wildlife parents are devoted parents and most birds don’t even have a sense of smell anyway!
- Keep pets under control so they do not raid nests and injure wild animals. Keep pets inoculated against parasites and diseases.
- Educate children to respect wildlife and their habitat. Emphasize to your children not to handle wild animals.
- Contact your local wildlife official before taking action. Trust and follow the advice of these trained professionals. Call 1-800-WILDLIFE to be connected with the proper individuals.