Leave Wildlife Where They Are Found

Social Circle, Ga.

Before you pick up or attempt to assist any wildlife, no matter its age or condition, remember that it is best to leave young birds, bunnies, or fawns where they are found, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (DNR WRD).

"While it is normal to want to ‘help’ other creatures, wildlife, even young ones, rarely need interference from humans,” explains Kaitlin Goode, wildlife biologist and program manager of the Georgia DNR WRD Urban Wildlife Program. “And, in fact, taking wildlife out of their natural environment and bringing them into your home often takes away the animal’s ability to then survive in the wild, where they belong,”

The best thing people can do when they see any wildlife of any age is to immediately move away and leave it exactly as they found it for at least 24 hours. If the animal is still there after this wait time, reach out to a local WRD office for guidance (GeorgiaWildlife.com/about/contact).

Regarding young wildlife that “appears” orphaned, Goode says that “While it may appear that a young animal is alone, the adult animal is usually close by even though you may not be able to see it. Adult animals, such as deer, spend most of the day away from their young to reduce the risk of a predator finding the young animal.”

Wildlife, especially young animals, demand a great deal of care and have specific nutritional requirements. If they are not cared for properly, they cannot be released or retain the ability to survive on their own. Persons not licensed and trained in wildlife rehabilitation should not attempt to care for wildlife.  Georgia law prohibits the possession of most wildlife without a permit.

For more information, visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/living-with-wildlife.