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How to Handle Baby Animals Found Alone in the Wild

Know what to look for and possible risks before getting involved
Published: December 14, 2012
CBN-A0213_bobcat Rescue
Courtesy Gulf Coast Wildlife Rescue

While out on a wilderness hike, you happen upon a baby animal that appears to have been abandoned by its mother. More often than not, however, baby animals are not really orphaned. The parent may be either off foraging, or observing from a safe distance. Accidents do happen at times, though. If you find obviously vulnerable babies, and you've waited a time for their parents to return but they haven't, you may want to take action to help the young survive.
    The chart below has some guidelines on what to look for, what to do, and what risks may be associated with this baby animal. Click the "Full Screen" button to view the chart larger.

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* To seek help with a seemingly orphaned baby animal, contact an authorized wildlife rehabilitator. If you don't know who to call, try your district office for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, or your local animal shelter. In any case, don't be surprised if you're told to just leave the animal alone to let nature take its course.
For more info, read "Helping Wildlife in Need" in the February 2013 issue of Cabin Life. To read more about baby animals, and to learn about the fascinating topic of wildlife imprinting, read "Forever Wild" in the June/July 2003 issue.
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