Baby wildlife season is upon us. The incident in Yellowstone National Park where a baby bison was picked up and put it in someone’s vehicle, is a reminder for us all to think before we act. Please remember to leave baby wildlife alone. Wild animals are meant to be out in nature and they raise their young there too.
Deer fawns are one of the many local baby wild animals who are commonly kidnapped. Fawns are born without a scent, and are quite wobbly on their skinny little legs for the first few days. While they’re so vulnerable, their mother hides them in tall grasses and shrubs where they will lie still to stay safe from predators. The fawn is left here for three to four hours before the doe returns to feed it and move it to a new hiding spot.
Many people, in the country and city alike, find deer fawns in their yards. It is important to leave the fawn alone and let its mom come back for it. Interfering with the fawn could lead to its demise, just like that poor bison calf in Yellowstone.
Ducks also have unique ways to stay safe from predators. Mother ducks will pretend to have a broken wing to create a distraction and lure you away from her brood. Once the predator – and yes, this includes you – follows her and gets too close, she flies off. The predator continues on its way, not realizing there are ducklings hiding in the other direction.
If the predator sneaks up on the duck family, the mom will fly away and all the ducklings will scatter in different directions. A brood of 8 ducklings, going in eight different directions, confuses the predator. If the predator is quick witted, it can follow one duckling and have a small snack. The rest are scattered all over the landscape and sit quietly in hiding until the predator leaves the area. Meanwhile, the mother duck has been flying over the area, waiting for the dangerous predator to leave, and will only then return to gather her ducklings.
So if you come across a duck family, and happen to scare them then see the mom fly away and all the fluffy ducklings scattering, the right thing for you to do is to leave the area.
Leaving baby wild animals alone is hard for us, because we have a deep seeded streak of compassion that compels us to act irrationally and kidnap baby wildlife. But we have a wealth of information at our fingertips in the form of a smartphone, so let’s put that to good use and find out the facts before accidently endangering an animal we originally intended to safeguard!
You can help conserve habitat for all local wild species by supporting the Edmonton and Area Land Trust. Help us keep it natural, by visiting ealt.ca.