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Arizona Game and Fish asks people to avoid helping baby wildlife

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking the public not to interfere with seemingly abandoned baby animals.

“Picking up or ‘rescuing’ baby wildlife is often unnecessary and can have negative consequences,” Stacey Sekscienski, wildlife education program manager, said in a press release.

Although the animal may appear abandoned, a parent is likely nearby and will return once humans leave the area, according to the release.

“While the intention is well-meaning, the ‘rescue’ often results in a newborn or juvenile animal being taken from its parents, which are likely just out foraging for food and water,” Sekscienski said.

“This can often leave a parent searching for its young, and wildlife raised by humans is less likely to survive if released back into the wild.”

Removal of some species, such as elk calves or deer fawns, may also result in the animal being euthanized because they cannot be released due to disease concerns.

Zoos and other wildlife sanctuaries have limited space to hold them, according to the release, with the facilities inundated each year with baby birds, rabbits and other wildlife unnecessarily taken from the wild.

Those who encounter an animal that is clearly sick or injured, unresponsive, has been attacked by a cat or dog or there is strong evidence that the mother is dead is asked to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

“It’s reassuring to know our Arizona community is passionate about caring for wild animals, but most often, the best thing anyone can do is just to leave baby wildlife alone,” Sekscienski said.

People are also asked to leave eggs of ground-nesting birds like quail in place when discovered.

More information on what to do if abandoned or injured baby wildlife is believed to be discovered can be found online.

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