SAN ANTONIO – Officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife are warning people to leave wild animals alone after the coronavirus pandemic may have more people heading to enjoy the great outdoors.
Texans might notice more wildlife in their backyards, neighborhoods and surrounding areas but TPWD experts are warning potential do-gooders against lending a helping hand.
“Species including birds, deer and snakes are active this time of year and their young often stray or appear to be abandoned,” according to a news release.
Deer fawning season starts in early to mid-May and mothers leave fawns alone for hours at a time, the release states. “Well-meaning people sometimes pick up these fawns, thinking that they have been abandoned by their mothers and need help. This is rarely the case.”
All young animals should be left alone unless they are obviously injured or orphaned.
Officials recommend spending time observing the animal from a distance to try and decipher whether or not the animal has been abandoned or is hurt.
“Staying too close may deter the mother from returning, so be sure to practice your social distancing skills. By interfering too soon, you may be doing more harm than good,” according to the news release.
TPWD officials say if a baby birds eyes are open, it has a coat of feathers and is hopping around that it is probably fine. “Grounded fledglings will usually be up and flying within a few days.”
If you think a wild animal is sick or injured call the TPWD’s wildlife information line at 512-389-4505. After-hours callers can get the names of rehabilitators from TPWD’s dispatch line at 512-389-4848 or by checking the department’s website.