(WHTM) — With the warmer weather finally arriving in the commonwealth this means many more people will be spending their time outdoors. Because of this, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is asking residents to leave young wildlife alone if they encounter them in the wild.
“Well-intentioned people might step in to help a young animal that appears to be alone, not realizing its mother is nearby and it’s not in need of help,” said Matthew Schnupp, the Game Commission’s wildlife management director. “That’s one reason why leaving young wildlife undisturbed in the wild typically is the best solution when encountering young wild animals.”
The commission states that adult animals often leave their young alone as they forage for food. The animals usually do not go far and always return. Wildlife heavily relies on something called the “hider strategy.” This is when the animal remains motionless and hides in surrounding cover, while adults draw the attention of predators away from their young.
The Game Commission urges Pennsylvanians to resist the urge to interfere with young wildlife or remove any wild animal from its natural setting. They say that wildlife becomes a public safety risk. It is illegal to possess wildlife from the wild, and a violation can result in a fine of up to $1,500 per animal.
Another thing that the Game Commission says poses a threat to the public is rabies. Rabies can be in any mammal but is normally found in skunks, raccoons, foxes, bats, coyotes, and groundhogs. People can get rabies from the saliva of a rabid animal if they are bitten or scratched, or if the saliva gets into the person’s eyes, mouth, or a fresh wound.
Only wildlife rehabilitators who are licensed by the Game Commission are permitted to take care of injured or orphaned wildlife for the purpose of releasing them back into the wild. You can find a rehabilitator local to you by clicking here.
If you cannot find a wildlife rehabilitator in your area, contact the Game Commission by phone at 1-833-PGC-WILD or 1-833-PGC-HUNT.