All too often a wild animal baby doesn't need rescuing at all, and the human rescuer is actually reducing the animal's chance for survival. According to the Humane Society of the United States, "If You Care, Leave Them There."
The message is that you should not rush out to capture every fawn, duckling or other wild baby unless you have watched and waited long enough to ensure that the animal's parents are either unwilling or unable to provide care. Wild animals of all shapes and sizes are born during the spring and summer months. In your own backyard, you may come across baby birds, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, fawns and other young wildlife as they make they make their way into the world.
For many people, the pleasure of seeing these young creatures is mixed with a sense of protectiveness - of wanting to help them survive. But spotting a baby animal by himself doesn't necessarily mean he's an orphan. Many wildlife parents leave their young alone during the day, sometimes for long periods. The parent is usually nearby and quite conscious of her young. Also, keep in mind that despite their small size, many young animals are actually independent enough to fend for themselves.
How can you tell if an animal needs your help or should be left alone? Remember, many animals who appear to be orphaned are not. Do not attempt to rescue animals unless one or more of the signs mentioned below is present.
If a wild animal exhibits any of the above signs, you should immediately call one of the following local resources for assistance. You will find listings for most of these in your telephone directory.
Once you've contacted the right person,describe the animal and his physical condition as accurately as possible. Unless directed otherwise, here's how you can make an animal more comfortable for transport or while you're waiting for help to arrive.
Surveys and studies have shown that most baby animals turned into agencies probably were not abandoned or orphaned at all - they were simply discovered by a human. So if you see young wild animals and are not certain that the babies are orphaned, please remember: If you care, leave them there!
Reprinted with the kind permission of the Humane Society of the United States.