Game & Fish: Don’t approach injured or abandoned wildlife

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CASPER, Wyo. — When people want to help wildlfe they think are hurt or abandoned, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department says they should not approach these animals themselves.

“It’s natural to want to help wildlife when we believe them to be hurt or left behind,” Casper Wildlife Biologist Heather O’Brien said. “If you see an animal that appears to be injured, do not approach or try to capture the animal as it can be dangerous for both you and the animal.”

Instead, people should first call the Wyoming Game & Fish Department at 1-877-WGFD-TIP, O’Brien said in an “Ask Wyoming Game and Fish” announcement on Thursday, June 13.

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“A dispatcher is available 24 hours a day and will contact a biologist or game warden in your area,” O’Brien said. “You will be asked to describe the situation in detail and may be contacted by the assigned officer to provide further information.”

She added that young wildlife may not actually be abandoned, even when they appear to be so.

“Adult birds, cottontails, deer, pronghorn and other species often hide their young from predators by leaving them alone for much of the day,” O’Brien said. “In virtually all cases there is nothing wrong; these youngsters are just learning how to walk, run or fly, but have not yet mastered these skills.”

She said it is common to find young wildlife in backyards, alleyways and along the road. Great horned owls may also be found in urban areas.

“As their young grow too big for the nest they frequently end up on the ground and in other conspicuous places,” O’Brien added. “The adults are usually not far away and will bring food to their young as they grow and improve their flying skills.”

She said that younger wildlife may seem to be tame due to their youth and inexperience.

“As with injured wildlife, it is best not to pick up young animals,” O’Brien continued. “Young wildlife should rarely, if ever, be taken into captivity.”

Without permits, it is also illegal to keep most wildlife species, according to O’Brien.

She concluded with a reminder that people should call Game & Fish, adding that a game warden may be dispatched to help out.