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Game & Fish caution against ‘rescuing’ young wildlife

Don’t touch that deer

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking the public to not “rescue” baby wildlife. In many cases it leaves young wildlife orphans.

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The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking the public to not “rescue” baby wildlife. In many cases it leaves young wildlife orphans.

PHOENIX – Within the past several weeks, well-intentioned people have delivered several deer fawns to Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) offices believing that the animals were abandoned by their parents.

While the department understands the public’s desire to help, in reality they’re often taking a newborn or juvenile animal from its parents, which likely “parked” the baby in one location while they foraged for food and water for long periods of time. If the fawn appears alert and healthy it is best to leave the animal alone and to walk away.

“Picking up or ‘rescuing’ baby wildlife unnecessarily most often leaves the animal an orphan,” said Mike Demlong, AZGFD Wildlife Education program manager. “The mother is often left searching for her young and baby wildlife raised by humans are less likely to survive when they are released back into the wild. Deer fawns and elk calves cannot be returned to the wild.”

Some species of baby animals, such as elk calves or deer fawns, may be euthanized because they cannot be released back into the wild due to disease concerns and the fact that zoos and sanctuaries have limited space to hold them.

Fortunately, AZGFD was able to recently find homes for five deer fawns that were recently picked up, but that is not usually the case.

The department’s Wildlife Center and others around the state are inundated every year with baby birds, rabbits and other wildlife that were unnecessarily taken from