Born wild: Animal babies best left in nature
|The well-intended person may attempt to rescue or to feed a wild animal baby because, in the human world, we perceive the baby as being afraid, alone and abandoned. It usually is not.
photo WDNR ©2012
MADISON — A human mother stays close to protect her infant most hours of a day, and people take comfort in seeing the baby’s caretaker present and in action.
Like their human counterparts, wild animal mothers share the dedication to protect, to feed and to care for their babies. But state wildlife officials say people should know that wild animal mothers do this in different ways.
“Unlike humans, one way an animal mom protects her baby is to conceal it and leave it hidden from predators under natural vegetation,” said Amanda Cyr, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources
The mother returns to feed the babies, but often under the cover of darkness or brush, Cyr said, adding this is something people may not understand because it is so removed from what a human mother does.
“The well-intended person may attempt to rescue or to feed a wild animal baby because, in the human world, we perceive the baby as being afraid, alone and abandoned,” Cyr said. “It usually is not. Its mother is following natural behavior instincts to help the babies survive and thrive. Human interventions, while done with good intentions, instead can damage the health and well-being of the baby animal.”
Too much human or domestic animal disturbance or activity near a baby animal also could cause the mother to shy away from the area. She also advises to keep a close watch on pets so they don’t disturb a nest of baby animals. To prevent a wild animal from making a nest near your home or in the chimney, vent, window well, Cyr suggesting placing caps or covers on those areas. “Seal any unintended opening or hollow,” she said.
Cyr also warns feeding a wild animal with human foods can cause more damage to the wild animal because their digestive systems are different. Wild animals require different foods and nutrient levels that cannot be met with human diets.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
- Amanda Cyr – DNR Wildlife Biologist – (715) 359-5508
- Joanne Haus – (206) 267-0798