With the arrival of spring, the Saskatchewan prairies are bustling with new life as numerous animals give birth to their young.
Although the sight of baby wildlife may elicit feelings of warmth and compassion, experts emphasize the importance of keeping your distance.
Conservation Officer with the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, Ted Glass, explains that more often than not, the animal's mother is close by.
“We're not wildlife’s mother and they do far better without us,” he elaborated. “Young animals are not abandoned most often, but they're simply hidden or they're waiting for mom to come back.”
Animals in the wild can become habituated to humans, causing them to lose their natural and healthy fear of humans.
“A dependent or a habituated animal will turn to us for food, will turn to us for care, and they'll get themselves in more trouble that way,” he stated. “On top of that, animals will carry diseases that you and your pets can also get. So, by caring for them, you put yourself and the pets that you love and care for in danger.”
He added that if an animal is in need of help, there are indicators that individuals can watch out for.
“In the rare instance where maybe we do need to help out our wildlife friends, we need to be sure that that they have been abandoned or they've been left behind,” Glass explained. “Indicators such as being there for more than a day, and that's tough to find out because sometimes mom will come in the night, take care of the kid and leave it right where it was. So, have they been in the same position exactly for 10 hours or more? Is it crying out and no one is responding, is it covered with insects, or is it soaking wet? Possibly it's been there, and the dews sat on it.
“Those things we can tell easily that maybe that animal does need some care. The other thing is, it in a place that it shouldn't be like on a set of railway tracks, on your front step, those places where an animal just can't be.”
If you come into contact with an animal that you believe needs assistance, you can call 1-800-667-7561, to speak to the nearest conservation officer. If the animal is in immediate danger, you can move it to a safe spot.
“Very often they're just fine and they aren't pets, wildlife needs to remain wild,” he concluded. “You can't carry wildlife home with you. Not only is it against the law, but it just makes poor biological sense, the animal survives far better without us.”