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Acts of kindness can put baby wildlife at risk, expert says

Unless injured, WRR advises to ‘Do absolutely nothing’

SAN ANTONIO – Acts of kindness can have consequences for baby wildlife that are thought to be in need of help, said Lynn Cuny, the founder and president of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation.

"People need to understand that a rescue is only a rescue when the animal that you're trying to help truly needs your help," Cuny said.

She said WRR considers this time of year "baby season" when every species native to the San Antonio area is having their young.

She said it's also when baby birds fall out of their nests, lawn mowers uncover shallow cottontail rabbit nests in the ground, and fawns are left alone while the does spend hours foraging for food.

"We just don't need these babies to be separated from their parents when there's no need for them to be separated," Cuny said.

"We cannot give them absolutely everything the mother gives them. It's simply not humanly possible."

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If they’re brought to WRR, she said many don’t survive, even in expert hands.

“It takes weeks longer, sometimes months longer, for certain species to actually get back to living in the wild,” Cuny said.

She also strongly warns against trying to care for the babies at home.

"You cannot possibly replicate the formulas they need. So don't even try to do that," Cuny said.

She said if they're injured or in distress, definitely contact WRR.

The organization now has handouts on its website that can be downloaded and shared with information about what to do during the most common wildlife encounters.

For instance, to check whether the mother cottontail is returning, Cuny recommends covering the nest with grass and placing string in an "X" or "T" shape over it.

Later, if the strings are disturbed, Cuny said it would be a sign the mother did return.

Also if fawns are in distress, she said they will make a bleating sound, like a lamb would.

She said wildlife doesn't leave its young behind without a reason.

“Their mothers are devoted to them. They are devoted to their mothers. They need each other,” Cuny said. “Let’s leave them together.”

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