If you care, leave critters there

About this time every year, a few things happen.

The black flies and mosquitoes show up and start gnawing on us. Moose and deer start galloping across roadways, terrorizing motorists and causing tragic crashes.

And well-meaning Mainers start noticing wild animals — more accurately, very cute, baby wild animals — that have apparently been abandoned by their mothers.

Notice the word “apparently.”

What happens next is predictable. The well-meaning Mainer scoops up the baby deer, or baby moose, or baby raccoon, or baby bear, takes it home, and calls a game warden.

Sounds like a fine plan. Doesn’t it?

Well, I’m sorry to ruin your morning, but in most cases, it’s not a fine plan. In fact, in most cases, those who “rescue” wild animals have done nothing of the sort.

Instead, they’ve often orphaned those very cute baby animals.

“The general public can become very concerned when they happen across young wildlife that appear to be alone or in trouble, and often want to help them,” Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife education coordinator Lisa Kane said in a recent press release.

Chances are good that mama bear, or mama moose, or mama bird wasn’t far away. Chances are good that they were coming back. And chances are good that when that attentive mother came back, she wasn’t too pleased by what she found.

“We want to remind everyone that wild parents cannot hire babysitters, and have to leave their youngsters for periods of time to find food,” Kane said. “It is very important to leave young birds or wildlife alone because trying to help wild animals can often put them at greater risk.”

Words worth considering.

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.