Press Release

Leave Baby Animals Alone

The beginning of June is the peak fawning and calving season for Idaho's deer, elk and pronghorn.

With campers and other outdoors enthusiasts heading out to the woods, well-meaning folks often find baby birds and other animals that seem to be abandoned. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking people to leave them alone.

"We have people calling us or bringing baby animals to the office every year," said Regan Berkley, Fish and Game regional wildlife biologist for the Magic Valley Region. "Even though their intentions are good, it isn't the best thing for the animals."

Mother animals often leave their young as they forage. If they return to their young to find people milling around, they will often leave the area and come back when the people are gone. If people have taken the baby animal, the mother will return to find her baby gone.

"If people bring young animals into the office we don't have many options," Berkley said. "We can attempt to return them back to where they were found, and hope their mother finds them, or we can see if any area zoos want them.

"During early summer, the baby is simply too young to survive on its own," she said. "Placing the animal in a zoo also doesn't always work, because zoos don't always have space for additional animals, particularly at this time of year."

If the animal is successfully placed in a zoo, it means the animal is removed from the wild forever. If neither returning the animal to the wild nor sending it to a zoo are good options, biologists have to consider whether euthanasia is the most humane thing to do.

"Basically, the only really good option is for the baby to stay in the wild in the first place," Berkley said.

In addition, it is illegal for people to possess wild animals. People found with a wild animal without a permit can be issued a citation, and the animal will be removed from their control. Animals raised in confinement are often destroyed because of the possibility of disease and lack of ability to survive on their own.

Smaller animals, like rabbits and birds, should also be left alone. In nature, mother knows best.

For more information, call 208-324-4359 or the nearest Fish and Game office.