The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is reminding hikers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts not to disturb baby animals, even if they appear to be abandoned.
"We have people calling us or bringing baby animals to the office every year," Regan Berkley, a regional wildlife biologist for IDFG’s Magic Valley Region, said in a news release. "Even though their intentions are good, it isn't the best thing for the animals." The department said that early June is peak fawning and calving season for deer, elk, and pronghorn, and that many animal mothers leave their young to forage.
Berkley said IDFG doesn’t have many options for animals brought into their offices. "We can attempt to return them back to where they were found, and hope their mother finds them, or we can see if any area zoos want them. During early summer, the baby is simply too young to survive on its own … Placing the animal in a zoo also doesn't always work, because zoos don't always have space for additional animals, particularly at this time of year." She said the best option is not to remove a baby from the wild, because if it can’t be released or sent to a zoo, biologists might be forced to euthanize the animal.
An IDFG news release said people should call the department if an animal is truly abandoned, such as if its mother is killed by a motor vehicle. Keeping wild animals as pets is illegal.