Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is cautioning residents against becoming “accidental kidnappers.”
According to Linda Glimps, the organization’s Executive Director, people will sometimes try to “rescue” young animals thinking they’re orphaned, but end up doing more harm than good.
“Sometimes what happens is we get phone calls from rescuers who say they’ve got a fawn. They saw it laying in the grass, picked it up, and brought it home,” says Glimps. “By doing so, it really is going to compromise that animal being reunited with its mother.”
Instead of picking up the animal, Glimps says to call the sanctuary’s animal care line at 705-644-4122, to get the best information and advice for the given species.
Glimps explains that across many species, mother animals leave their children in a safe location to keep them away from predators while they forage for food. The child instinctively knows to lay low, and the mother usually returns to them within a day.
“When you see a fawn by itself, that’s perfectly natural. That’s why we give that advice when people call us, just to leave the animal,” says Glimps. If it doesn’t look like it has any signs of obvious injury, then just leave the animal where it is. But if the animal is still there the following day, we do ask that you call us back, and we would recommend that the animal is brought to us.”
If people are concerned about the animal being in danger, such as beside a busy road, Glimps says it’s typically okay to move it to a nearby safe location, and check in periodically. She says she doesn’t blame people for wanting to do the right thing.
“There’s a lot of caring people out there. There’s a lot of people that want to protect wildlife, protect the natural environment,” says Glimps. “And part of our human behaviour and our good nature is if we see an animal that looks like it’s in distress, or it’s crying, or it’s on its own, it’s I think our natural instinct as humans to want to rescue that animal.”
Although the sanctuary gets the most calls about deer fawns, Glimps says the “accidental kidnappings” can happen across many species.
She adds that people can visit Aspen Valley’s website for information on what to do about different kinds of wildlife.