What to do and not to do with orphaned wildlife

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring is here and that means we will be having orphaned wildlife. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) tells us things to do and not to do when we come across orphaned animals.
Raccoons: The best message is to leave it alone for 24 hours to allow the adult female to return. Do not pick it up; do not try to feed it; leave it where it was found.
Capturing and handling young wildlife can stress them, sometimes fatally. Young animals, if alone, are not necessarily abandoned. Many animals do not stay with their young and only return to feed them. Wildlife can transmit diseases, such as rabies. It is illegal to keep wildlife without a permit.
Fawns: Does hide their fawns while they feed. Although the fawn is alone, the doe will return several times a day to nurse it, staying only a few minutes.
If you are concerned about a fawn, leave the area and return the next day. Does are very cautious and will not return to the fawn if they sense danger, such as a person nearby.
If a fawn is in the exact location when you check on it the following day and bleating loudly, or if a fawn is lying beside a dead doe, do not take the fawn into your possession. To find a local permitted fawn rehabilitator, contact the NCWRC at 919-707-0050 or go to www.ncwildlife.org/injuredwildlife.aspx.
Birds and rabbits: If the nest is close by, a young bird (nestling or fledgling) or rabbit can be put back into the nest. The adult may return to care for it. It is a myth that adults will abandon young that have been touched by humans. Do not try to rehabilitate the rabbit or birds on your own, as this is not only illegal, but may cause injury to the animal.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox