Do not disturb: a reminder regarding young
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SPRINGFIELD -- Spring
means warmer weather, trees and flowers in bloom, and an abundance of
nesting birds and young wildlife. Illinois Department of Natural Resources
wildlife biologists remind those who enjoy spending time outdoors and
encounter young wildlife to not disturb them.
walking or hiking in the woods, riding a bike or enjoying the
outdoors in your own back yard, if you encounter young animals,
unattended wildlife or nesting birds, the best advice is to keep
your distance and leave them alone," said Joel Brunsvold, director
of the Department of Natural Resources. "Finding baby raccoons,
rabbits, fawn deer or other wildlife this time of year is
commonplace. Even if it appears their mother has abandoned them,
we advise you not to disturb these wild babies."
say the young wildlife may appear to have been abandoned, but the
mother is likely foraging for food or may have moved away from her
den or nest to try to keep predators away. Biologists also advise
staying away from nesting waterfowl, even if the ducks and geese
appear to be in harm's way.
"We hear frequently
from homeowners and business people who find a duck or goose
nesting in a backyard planter or in a parking lot median,"
Brunsvold said. "Nesting birds can take care of themselves and
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Nature also provides
further protection for young animals with camouflaging color and by
giving them little scent to attract predators.
Another reason to
leave young wildlife alone is that it is illegal to possess wildlife
without the proper permit. Under Illinois law, illegal possession of
wildlife is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in
jail and a fine up to $500.
"Wildlife are just
that -- wild animals, not pets," Brunsvold said. "Removing young
wildlife from the wild and their natural surroundings also presents
a possible danger because the animals may transmit diseases such as
roundworm or rabies or may carry parasites like fleas, ticks and
Should you find injured wildlife posing a
threat to public safety, contact local animal control personnel or a
permitted wildlife rehabilitator. For wildlife rehabilitator
information, contact the IDNR
Office of Law Enforcement, One Natural Resources Way,
Springfield, IL 62702-1271; phone (217) 782-6431.
Department of Natural Resources