"Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals ‘love’ them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more." ~ Edwin Way Teal
Recently, there have been a large number of baby animals taken from their families. A large number of reports have been coming in about these animals that have been kidnapped — and it is actually the kidnappers themselves calling in.
Over the last few weeks there have been an increasing number of reports of baby animals that have been abandoned. From doe-eye baby deer to tiny fluffy bunnies and little half-feathered baby birds, reports of orphaned wildlife are on the rise.
There’s only one problem — most of these young animals didn’t need anyone’s help.
It’s difficult for most people to understand, because really, what kind of mother leaves her babies unattended and alone?
Wild animals do. And the truth is, in most cases, the babies really aren’t as "alone" as it may seem. Parents are often watching their babies from a distance as they gather food. In some cases, your arrival may have frightened the parents away — and they may be waiting a safe distance for you to leave.
Please, please do not kidnap baby animals! If you see a little one that is uninjured and alone, it has likely been left there for safe keeping. Taking the baby animals away will actually dramatically decrease their chances of survival.
Baby animals should not be handled if it can be avoided. However, contrary to popular belief, animals do not abandon their babies simply because they have been "touched by human hands."
Disturbing a nesting area of any animal may cause the parents to become needlessly fearful of danger — but gently placing a fallen baby back in a nest will not cause the parents to reject it.
It is also important to be aware that wild animals become mature and independent at a much younger age than many would expect.
For example, a bunny that is about the size of a tennis ball is very likely able to survive on his own. Another good example is a fledgling. Baby birds that are partially feathered are often capable of flying short distances and can be found on the ground as they are learning to fly.
Unless you have evidence that a baby animal has been injured, is very sick or has been attacked by a predator, there is no reason to remove the little one from the care of his family.
While no human parent would ever leave a baby unattended for such long periods of time, it is very normal for wildlife.
Aside from the risks posed to the babies, wild animals can also pose risks to the people who find them. Wildlife can carry parasites, bacterias and even diseases — and remember that these things can affect humans differently than they affect animals!
It is also illegal to take in wild animals in Manitoba, and it is against the law to keep wild animals as pets without special permits and licences.
Most sources say that wild babies have a 10-per-cent survival rate if taken from their mothers, even with the care of a sanctuary or professional. It’s heartbreaking to think good intentions can come at such a price!
It is very important to remember that the very best place for these young animals is with their parents, without human interference.
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.