YOUNG WILDLIFE BORN TO BE WILD
(04/50) Trenton -- As
New Jersey's wildlife becomes more active during warmer
weather, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell urges New Jersey residents who encounter
young wildlife to leave them in the wild unless the animals
"Many young animals are removed from the wild during
spring and early summer by otherwise well-intentioned people
who mistakenly assume the babies were abandoned and attempt
to save them," Campbell said. "Most of the time,
the young animal is waiting for a parent to return from
foraging or is using its natural instincts to hide and protect
Potential acts of kindness can result in tragedy. Young
animals unnecessarily taken into captivity often become
attached to their caregivers, and lose their natural instincts
and the ability to survive in the wild.
Handling wild animals and bringing them into the home poses
a health risk for both people and pets. Wildlife can transmit
life-threatening diseases such as rabies and can carry parasites
such as roundworms, lice, fleas and ticks.
In addition, it is against the law to take animals from
the wild and keep them as pets. Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators
are authorized to hold wildlife in captivity.
"We encourage residents to enjoy watching New Jersey's
beautiful wildlife in their natural habitats, and to remember
that most wild animals do not need or want any assistance
from people," Commissioner Campbell said.
Citizens who find an injured animal or encounter young
wildlife that remained with their mother after she died
should contact the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife at
(609) 292-2965 or visit www.njfishandwildlife.com
for information on the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center.