They may appear orphaned, lonely and cute, but state environmental officials are warning against "rescuing" baby animals.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said it is normal for many animals to leave their young alone for long periods of time, so they may not need help.
“Connecticut’s authorized wildlife rehabilitators care for more than 11,000 animals each year,” said DEEP wildlife division biologist Laurie Fortin. “Most of these are young wild animals that were brought in by well-intentioned individuals. However, many did not need to be rescued.”
DEEP said in all likelihood, the adult is nearby watching and waiting to return.
It provided a list of animals that leave their young alone:
If people encounter an injured animal, DEEP said to avoid direct contact, keep pets and children away, use heavy gloves to transfer it to a cardboard box or escape-proof container, keep the animal warm and in a quiet place and contact an authorized wildlife rehabilitator.
DEEP said keeping wild animals as pets is discouraged and may even be illegal.
“Although it may be natural to want to assist young animals, caring for them may actually do more harm than good,” Fortin said. “It may be dangerous too, as direct contact may result in exposure to rabies or other diseases carried by wildlife. Be aware that even young mammals can carry and transfer the rabies virus in their saliva. Handling a potential rabies carrier, such as a baby raccoon, without proper precautions may require that the animal be euthanized for rabies testing.”
For more information on wildlife rehabilitators in Connecticut and other information on the state's wildlife, head to DEEP's website here.
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