As we head into the Memorial Day weekend when many people will be enjoying the outdoors, wildlife officials are taking the moment to warn people to leave newborn wildlife alone.
Bud Stewart of the Sheridan Game and Fish office said the newborns are tempting to take care of, because they may appear to be abandoned, but most likely they do not need any help.
He went on to say most mammal mothers hide their young and return to the newborn periodically to nurse. And though baby birds do sometimes fall or get pushed out of a nest before they're able to fly, he said a mother bird will care for the young chick while it's on the ground, bringing the baby food and protecting the youngster in this vulnerable situation.
Getting too close to some newborn wildlife can be harmful to the animal and sometimes dangerous, according to officials. A mother bear or moose may become aggressive if a human gets too close to its young. So, he said, it's a good idea to leave an area, immediately, if you encounter an aggressive wildlife mother with her young.
Regardless, state and federal laws forbid possession of game and many non-game 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. So if a child brings home what's thought to be an orphaned wild animal, wildlife officials say return the animal, immediately, to the exact spot where found. If, however, a mother of a fawn, for instance, is known to be dead, a game warden should be called. Game officials say do not try to capture the animal yourself.