Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds public to leave young wildlife alone

A group of young foxes spot a wildlife photographer as they snap a photo.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Courtesy image

As spring comes in earnest across the state and wildlife encounters become more common, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding the public that they should leave wildlife alone — even the young animals.

A Parks and Wildlife news release states wildlife will be more visible in backyards, open spaces and trails through the end of June, a trend that correlates with increased visits and calls to parks and wildlife from people reporting that they rescued young wildlife.

Unfortunately, “rescuing” young wildlife is often worse for the animal than leaving it alone. Parks and wildlife states that people essentially kidnap orphan animals when they take them to a Parks and Wildlife office or home to try to care for them.

If someone encounters a young animal, the best thing to do is leave it untouched in its natural habitat. People should not approach, touch or feed wild animals, but they should enjoy wildlife from a safe distance and keep their dogs on a leash.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife asks that people call their local parks and wildlife office to get guidance if they find a wild animal that appears sick or injured. Keeping your distance is always the best option, as trying to touch or feed wildlife could cause the animals to become aggressive or lead to diseases transferring from the wildlife to the human or vice versa.

If you see a nestling baby bird, which means its eyes are closed and it is featherless, you can put the bird back in its nest if it is safe to reach. However, it is best that you wear gloves and a mask to prevent transmission of diseases.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife/ Courtesy photo

If you find a baby bird that has fallen out of a nest, Parks and Wildlife has guidelines for what to do:

  • If it is a nestling baby bird (eyes closed and featherless) and you can easily see and safely reach its nest, it is ok to put that bird back into the nest but wear gloves and a mask to prevent transmission of diseases between you and the bird.
  • If you find a fledgling bird (eyes open, feathered, can hop around but cannot fly) on the ground, do not pick up that bird. The parents will continue to care for it on the ground and it will soon be able to fly. Keep cats inside to prevent them from killing birds. 
  • If you find a sick or dead bird, do not touch the bird. Please contact CPW to report the sick or dead bird.

For more information about how to help young wildlife visit CPW.State.Co.Us.

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