(WETM) – If you’re headed outside to take a hike or go camping, you may hope to catch a glimpse of some of New York’s beautiful natural wildlife. But the DEC says it’s important to remember to admire it from afar, even if you have nothing but good intentions at heart.
The DEC released a reminder to New Yorkers to appreciate wildlife from a distance and not touch or pick up young animals. The agency said human contact can have “unintended consequences detrimental to the animals”.
“This is the time of year New Yorkers are more likely to see young or newborn animals in their yards and mistakenly think these animals need help,” Commissioner Seggos said. “The recently fledged birds or baby rabbits in your yard likely have parents hiding nearby keeping an eye on their offspring. Please resist the urge to touch these wild animals and instead enjoy the encounter from a safe distance. Remember – if you care, leave it there.”
These rules are especially true for baby deer. Newborn fawns are often seemingly left alone, and many people might think they’re abandoned. It’s rare that the doe would abandon the fawn, however, and she leaves it alone except when nursing. The DEC says if you see a fawn lying in the grass, take a picture but don’t touch it. Human contact may cause the doe to delay nursing, something the fawn needs three or four times a day.
Wild animals are also not pets, the DEC said, and keeping wildlife in captivity is illegal. Wild animals may also carry diseases to people; anyone who sees an animals behaving abnormally or sick should contact their regional DEC office.
Indoor, domesticated pets may also be harmful to wildlife (cats may harm baby birds, for example) and should be kept inside when possible, according to the DEC. Any animals you see that are obviously injured or orphaned should be referred to DEC-licensed wildlife rehabilitators, the agency said.