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If you care, leave it there.

February 18, 2012
By: Brenda, Director of Education and Volunteers, Audubon Zoo

For those of us lucky enough to live in southern Louisiana, springtime is just about here.  Spring is the time of new beginnings-in the animal world it is the time of reproduction.  Soon there will be baby birds, baby rabbits, baby squirrels and baby opossums.  Humans love to be outdoors in the spring time and this increases the possibility of humans finding baby wildlife that seem alone or abandoned.  This is also the time that boxes of baby animals start arriving at the zoo.

Before you try to “help” that baby animal remember the motto “If you care, leave it there”.  Adults are usually nearby.  Rabbits hide their young and come back, sometime hours later. Most baby birds found hopping around are old enough to leave their nest.  If a young bird is fully feathered and in danger from your pets, move him to a nearby area and the mother will come back to feed it.  It is a myth that birds smell human on their young   and reject them.  Birds in general have a very poorly developed sense of smell.  Unfeathered babies should be put back in the nest if possible.  Sadly, sometime we just have to let nature take its course.

Wild animals do NOT make good pets.  Despite being raised by humans, they still retain some of their natural instincts.  When wild animals reach their sexual maturity they can bite and hurt the humans that have cared for them.  Wild animals are meant to be wild.  Domestic animals are meant to be cared for by humans.

Please remember:  “ If you care, leave it there.”

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