If you care leave them thereWith April showers and May flowers come baby animals. This spring, keep wildlife wild by leaving them where they belong.

If you encounter a baby animal alone, remember:

  • Adult animals rarely abandon their young. The parent may be out of sight gathering food. Leaving young unattended is normal for many species. To minimize discovery by predators, adults return only a few times a day.
  • Do not hover to see if a parent has come back to their young. An adult animal will not come near if a person is standing nearby. Give young animals space and only check back periodically. If you can’t tell if a mother has checked on a nest, place straw or grass over the nest and return later to see if it has been disturbed.
  • Baby animals should not be handled. Though human scent may not cause parents to abandon their young, it can alert predators to the young animal’s presence. They can carry diseases or parasites that may transfer to people. Young animals can also inflict damage by biting or scratching people trying to help.

Rescuing young wildlife is legal; keeping them is not. You can rescue truly orphaned and/or injured wild animals without a permit, but the animal must be given to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator who is trained on how to properly raise and release the species within 24 hours. A list of wildlife rehabilitators is available atwildlife.IN.gov/5492.htm.