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Baby wildlife rarely needs human intervention, Arizona officials warn

(Arizona Game and Fish Department Screenshot)

PHOENIX – Although one orphaned deer recently wound up in a secure new home, Arizona officials are discouraging the public from removing young animals from the wild.

A 3-week-old fawn was placed at the 160-acre Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams on Thursday after its mother was killed by a vehicle near Safford.

The young white-tailed deer had become dependent on humans and couldn’t be released back into the wild, the Arizona Game and Fish Department said in a press release.

Too often, however, well-meaning citizens take baby animals from the wild, erroneously thinking they have been abandoned or orphaned.

“We understand the public’s desire to help animals such as fawns and other baby wildlife, but in reality, wild animals are rarely abandoned or orphaned,” Kellie Tharp, Game and Fish Education Branch chief, said in the release.

“The best thing you can do is to leave baby wildlife alone.”

Elk and deer often leave their babies alone for hours while foraging for food, Tharp said.

Young animals removed from their environment might end up being euthanized because they can’t be returned to the wild and there isn’t room for them in zoos or other sanctuaries, the release said.

Anyone who finds an animal that is clearly sick or injured should leave it be and report it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or a Game and Fish office.

The same goes for when there is clear evidence that a baby’s mother has died.

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