Wildlife are starting to have their babies, such as this young elf calf … do not touch them. Courtesy/NMGF
SANTA FE — Spring in New Mexico is an exciting time for wildlife. This is the time of year when most babies are born.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish reminds the public to leave alone any deer or antelope fawns, elk calves, bear cubs or other wild animals they may find.
Most young-of-the-year wildlife that people discover are simply hiding while awaiting their parents’ return from foraging nearby. Removing these young animals can cost them their lives, warns Department deer biologist Orrin Duvuvuei.
“For about a week after birth, young wildlife exhibit hiding behaviors to avoid detection and increase their chance for survival. You might think it has been abandoned, but in reality, the mother is typically a few hundred yards away,” Duvuvuei said. “In most cases, the best thing to do is just leave it alone and quietly leave the area.”
Returning a young wild animal to its natural environment after it’s been carried off by a human can be very difficult and may not work in many cases, Duvuvuei said.
Follow these guidelines when spotting young wildlife:
- Do not approach. Its mother is likely close by and aware that you are in the area;
- Leave the area quickly and quietly;
- Observe the animal from a safe distance, but don’t linger in the area or touch the animal; and
- If you think the animal has been abandoned, mark the location using a GPS if possible and contact the your local officer.
For more information about living with wildlife in New Mexico, visit the Department website.