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Oregonians Advised To Leave Young Critters Alone


More Oregonians are getting out for hikes as the weather warms up, increasing the chances of encountering wildlife. Officials say to leave animals be, even if they are young and look stranded. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Every year around this time, local police departments and Fish and Wildlife agencies are bombarded with calls from people who’ve taken home lone elk calves, fawns, or fledgling birds because they assumed they were orphaned.

“Mom will be back,” assures Michelle Dennehy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  She says unless you’ve seen the mom actually die, young animals in the wild are best left alone. Taking them into your car or home can do more damage than good. 

Credit U.S. Forest Service / Flickr.com

“Our rehabilitators are really trained to do this, they’ve got the facilities to do this, they know what to feed the animal," continues Dennehy. "So if you are in a situation, you want to call a rehabilitator, you can also call an ODFW office for advice. 

"But in the vast majority of cases, you don’t need to do anything but just leave the animal alone.”

And some animals – namely mother bears – can be fiercely protective of their cubs, so engaging their young may invite a dangerous encounter.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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