It’s natural to want to help wildlife when we believe them to be hurt or left behind. If you see an animal that appears to be injured, do not approach or try to capture the animal as it can …
It’s natural to want to help wildlife when we believe them to be hurt or left behind. 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.
The best first step is to call the Wyoming Game and Fish Department at 1-877-WGFD-TIP. A dispatcher is available 24 hours a day and will contact a biologist or game warden in your area. You will be asked to describe the situation in detail and may be contacted by the assigned officer to provide further information.
Often when young wildlife appear to be abandoned, it is actually not the case. Adult birds, cottontails, deer, pronghorn and other species often hide their young from predators by leaving them alone for much of the day. In the spring and summer it is common for young wildlife to be found in unexpected places, such as backyards, along roadsides and in alleyways. 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.
Some species like great horned owls are common in urban areas. As their young grow too big for the nest they frequently end up on the ground and in other conspicuous places. The adults are usually not far away and will bring food to their young as they grow and improve their flying skills. Young animals may also seem tame, as they are naïve and have not yet learned how to avoid danger.
As with injured wildlife, it is best not to pick up young animals. Young wildlife should rarely, if ever, be taken into captivity. It is in fact illegal to possess most wildlife species without proper permitting.
If you are concerned about a young animal, again, you can call the Game and Fish at 1-877-WGFD-TIP, or your local Game and Fish Office, game warden or biologist. The closest available biologist or game warden will be dispatched to assist.
(Heather O’Brien is a wildlife biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the Casper area.)