Wildlife officials urge would-be abandoned animal saviors to 'leave it there'

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Montana wildlife officials on Thursday implored people to leave wild baby animals alone after a pair of misguided tourists attempted to save what they believed to be an abandoned fawn in a move that might have led to its death.

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Ryan Karren, Region 7 warden for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said in a news release that a California couple traveling through Montana over the weekend put a recently born fawn in their vehicle after spotting it on the road.

The couple told Karren that the fawn’s “mother had abandoned it, and it was starving.”

However, officials said, that was likely not the case.

“If you care, leave it there,” FWP officials said in a social media post.

It’s not unusual for animals, including deer and elk, to leave their young on their own for extended periods of time, according to FWP. When a person picks up a young animal, it affects the animal’s scent and can lead it to be abandoned.

“People mean well, and they never like it when you tell them that they have actually most likely killed the animal, versus saving it,” Karren said.

Each spring, FWP receives several calls from people who have picked up deer fawns or other wildlife. Here is a recent...

Posted by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on Thursday, June 8, 2017

The fawn, estimated to be around a day or two old, traveled for two hours in the woman’s lap as the couple drove to FWP in hopes of getting it help.

“I am sure it was stressing out,” Karren said. “It most likely did not survive the stress.”

Officials asked the couple to return the fawn to the area where it was found, as FWP doesn’t hold or rehabilitate deer or elk. Officials said the animals rarely survive the stress of captivity.

Authorities field several calls each spring from people who have picked up deer fawns or other wildlife.

"They're sure cute, but please leave baby animals alone," FWP officials said. “If you see a young animal injured, whether a goose or a grizzly, keep your distance.”

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