Here’s why you shouldn’t handle or feed young or ‘abandoned’ wildlife

Handling a young animal may do more harm than good

A file image of a fawn. (Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay)

SAN ANTONIO – People who see young animals alone in the wild and assume they’re “abandoned” by their mothers should refrain from handling them, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

TPWD is reminding people to not feed or touch wildlife, especially babies, even if they believe they’re giving a helping hand.

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“Texans may start to notice more wildlife in their backyard, neighborhood or surrounding areas. The best thing to do is to leave them alone,” a news release from TPWD states. “Birds, rabbits, deer and snakes become more active this time of year; their young can be mistaken as abandoned.”

Handling a young animal may do more harm than good — and it’s actually illegal to possess wildlife in most cases, TPWD says.

Even though some people have good intentions, picking up a young animal or staying close to it may deter its mother from returning.

TPWD said fawning season begins in early to mid-May, and a doe may leave her fawn for hours while looking for food.

“During that time, people may spot the fawn lying alone in tall grass or in a brushy area. Many assume it has been abandoned by its mother and needs help, but this is rarely the case,” the release states.

TPWD added that young turtles seen crossing the road should not be taken home. Also, young birds seen on the ground likely have their parents nearby.

However, if someone believes the animal is injured, sick or truly orphaned, they can contact TPWD for help.

People can find a wildlife rehabilitator by clicking here. They can also call a local game warden or call the TPWD Information Line at 1-800-792-1112.

For more tips on encountering injured, sick or orphaned animals, click here.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.