Babies in the wild - leave them be | IN OUR OPINION

  - Bainbridge Island Review photo
— image credit: Bainbridge Island Review photo

They’re small, furry, absolutely adorable and totally irresistible.

But please, resist.

The “they” are the wild animal babies that are making their appearances in forests across the island — and Kitsap County — this spring.

Unfortunately, when some people happen across such little ones they often don’t see or notice the animal’s parent nearby, and assume the wild animal is an orphan.

The West Sound Wildlife Shelter is reminding people that that’s not usually the case, however.

During the spring, thousands of wild animal babies are picked up by humans and brought to animal rescue shelters.

Truth is, many of these animals aren’t in need of a rescue.

The West Sound Wildlife Shelter cares for more than a thousand animals every year, and many wild babies are brought in by people who have the best of intentions, officials said.

Lisa Horn, executive director of the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, said baby bunnies are one of the wild animals “rescued” most often.

But Horn noted the baby bunnies don’t need help from humans. Mother rabbits are only at their nest to feed their babies twice a day, at dusk and dawn, and for about five minutes.

Shelter officials note that one of the reasons for mother rabbits to be away from the nest for so long is to deter predators. And baby rabbits are usually in the nest for just two to three weeks.

Deer also leave their fawns alone for hours at a time.

And though fawns may look vulnerable, people shouldn’t automatically assume they need help. Shelter officials said that unless the fawn is obviously injured — with a broken leg, or open wound with flies buzzing around it — it is most likely perfectly fine.

Islanders should also remember its illegal to keep wildlife as pets or to try to raise them as orphans.

Remember, if you find a wild animal that you think needs help, leave the care to a trained and licensed wildlife rehabilitator. When in doubt, call the West Sound Wildlife Shelter at 206-855-9057.

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