Arizona Game and Fish sends warning to leave baby wildlife alone

May 8, 2022, 6:30 AM
(Facebook photo/Arizona Game and Fish)...
(Facebook photo/Arizona Game and Fish)
(Facebook photo/Arizona Game and Fish)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is instructing people to not touch baby wildlife, an annual warning during the spring when many mammals are born.

Mothers may leave their children for periods of time to find food or water, and while a young animal may look abandoned in the wild, it should remain untouched.

Arizona Game and Fish have taken custody of a baby javelina and bobcat in recent weeks that were separated from their mothers by people who believed they were abandoned, according to a press release.

“In the majority of cases, it is best to leave all baby wildlife alone. People’s desire to help seemingly abandoned animals can have unintended negative consequences,” Regional
Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson said in a statement.

“Although it seems humane to ’help’ or ’rescue’ baby animals perceived to be in need, wildlife reared in captivity by humans — without the benefit of learning from their parents — have a greatly reduced chance of survival if they are released back into the wild.”

The department recommends calling a wildlife rehabilitator if one finds an injured animal or one at risk.

An exception Arizona Game and Fish presented is if the animal is immobile and in immediate risk of injury, in which case it can be moved to a safe location nearby where its mother can find it, according to the release.

A baby animal taken from its mother could be euthanized unless a shelter, zoo or other facility can take it in. Plus, removing an animal from the wild can be a dangerous endeavor, even if injured.

The department instructs those who have taken baby wildlife to return it to the exact spot it was retrieved so its mother can find it.

Maximum penalties for illegal take of wildlife and illegal possession of restricted wildlife is four months in jail and a $750 fine.

For a list of wildlife rehabilitators around the Valley, check Arizona Game and Fish’s website.

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Arizona Game and Fish sends warning to leave baby wildlife alone