By Saskatchewan Environment
Spring has sprung in Saskatchewan. This is an exciting time for nature enthusiasts, for hiking, for being outdoors and nature watching.
Very shortly, we will start seeing young animals such as ducklings, rabbits, songbirds or fawns in their natural habitats. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when well-intentioned people sometimes interfere with young wildlife. The Ministry of Environment wants to emphasize a simple message regarding young animals: Physical distancing isn’t just for humans, leave young wildlife alone and please don’t touch them. Trying to help wild animals that appear orphaned, or lost, is often detrimental to their health and safety. In nature, young animals and birds are purposely placed into seclusion by their mothers to protect them from predators.
In the majority of cases, these young animals are not abandoned or deserted, and the mother is watching nearby. The chances for survival decrease significantly when young animals come into contact with humans.
The best thing to do is to leave them alone and enjoy the animals from a distance. Young wildlife should only be picked up if the parent is found dead nearby, or in an unnatural situation such as a young songbird found on a doorstep. In that case, the young bird could be moved to the closest suitable habitat. Only wildlife rehabilitators are licensed to care for orphaned and injured animals. They are trained to make sure animals are given appropriate care and nutrition to help improve their chances of survival when they are released back into the wild. If there are obvious signs of injury, or evidence that it has been orphaned, please contact the ministry’s general inquiry line at 1-800-567-4224 or by email at email@example.com. People are also reminded to steer clear of adult wildlife, such as deer or moose that sometimes wander into urban areas. Large crowds will stress the animals, which could lead to a potentially dangerous situation. Remember – give wildlife its space.