Leave young wildlife in the wild, Game and Fish urges

Already this spring, staff members at the Kingman office of the Arizona Game and Fish Department have fielded dozens of calls from people about abandonedbaby wildlife.

Many times well-intentioned people rescue these seemingly abandoned orphans to raise on their own, or to be turned over to the Game and Fish Department.

But well-meaning people who disturb young wildlife are doing more harm than good when they remove healthy wildlife from its natural environment, said Game and Fish information and education program manager David Boyd.

Recently, someone turned in six baby quail not more than 24 hours old, Boyd said.

Although the tiny birds are already active and "peeping," they might not make it because they were taken from their mother too soon.

"They don't have the mother to show them how to eat and what to do to survive.

The mother also kept them warm," Boyd said.

"What probably happened is someone temporarily scared the mother away.

But the best thing you can do is just leave them (the babies) alone, because in almost every case the mother will return."

If the baby birds do survive, they will be turned over to someone in Kingman who is licensed to rehabilitate wildlife, he said.

Boyd said the department receives calls about young elk, deer and even javelina that people mistakenly think have been abandoned.

Big game animals give birth at this time of the year.

Antelope started giving birth last month through the middle of this month, elk give birth later this month and deer later in the summer, Boyd said.

"Antelope and deer will hide a fawn during its first few weeks of life.

The fawn may seem abandoned, but the mother is actually close by, even if she is not in plain view.

Unless she is nursing, she keeps her distance to avoid attracting predators to her young," he added.

Javelina young travel with the herd almost as soon as they are born.

"But if the herd is spooked, the adults run away and the young often remain motionless to avoid detection," Boyd said.

He said people who come across the young javelina have the mistaken impression that they have been abandoned when in reality, if they were left alone the herd would rejoin the young as soon as the danger is over.

"It's natural to want to help these young animals.

As hard as it may seem, the best thing you can do for them is to leave them alone," said Game and Fish Supervisor Bob Posey.

He urges anyone who has a question or concern about wildlife they think has become orphaned, call Game and Fish at 692-7700 to describe the situation before attempting to move the animal or bird.