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E-M:/ Leave Wildlife in the Wild: Citizens Urged to Not Handle or Adopt Young Wildlife

Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>

May 1, 2006

Contacts: Kelly Siciliano Carter 517-373-1263 or Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014	

Leave Wildlife in the Wild:
Citizens Urged to Not Handle or Adopt Young Wildlife

As summer beckons, Michigan's wild birds and animals begin to produce the next generation of the state's living natural resources, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds outdoor enthusiasts to resist handling or adopting what appear to be orphaned baby animals. 

Wild animals are protected by state regulations and may only be kept by those who possess wildlife rehabilitation permits. 

"Often people find fledgling birds or fawns, and having the best of intentions, believe they are rescuing the animal," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Kelly Siciliano Carter. "Many people do not realize that most of the time, the mother is nearby. We want everyone to enjoy their time in the outdoors in Michigan, but leave the animals in the wild."

Carter added that many biological and disease problems are associated with handling wild animals including rabies, distemper, parasites and mange. Raccoons, for example, are known to host a roundworm that can cause blindness and death in people.

It is normal for many wild animal species to leave their young unattended for hours at a time. Deer, for instance, leave their fawns for up to eight hours before returning to nurse. Taking a fawn home is illegal, and usually results in death of the animal. 

Citizens who suspect that a baby animal is abandoned should call their nearest DNR office. DNR personnel will assess the situation and refer the caller to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator when appropriate. 

The DNR is committed to conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.


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