July 6, 2012
Park Reminds Visitors to Avoid Picking-up, Relocating, or Interacting with Baby Animals
Yosemite National Park is requesting help from visitors to protect newborn animals in the park. During the summer months, many baby birds, fawns, and other young wildlife can be found on the ground. They may appear to be in distress, but are not sick, injured, or abandoned. If moved from their location, the parents cannot care for their offspring and many of the young animals do not survive. If spotted on the ground, these animals should not be moved or handled.
When birds first leave the nest, they are often not able to immediately fly. They will remain on the ground or in bushes, and the parents will continue to come back and feed them. Fawns are born relatively scentless, and are brown with white spots. These characteristics are adaptations that allow the fawn to conceal itself from predators. It is normal for the mother deer to leave her fawns in a hidden area in order to prevent drawing attention to her offspring. She will return throughout the day to check on them and to nurse.
Even when approached by humans, fawns and baby birds may remain still and silent. When people are present, a mother deer or bird may become aggressive or stay away for longer periods of time, which will prevent the offspring from feeding on a regular basis.
During this vulnerable time in the life cycles of various wildlife species, dogs, cats and even people can pose a serious danger. Visitors who happen across newborn wildlife while in the park are asked to immediately leave the area so the parents can continue to care for their young safely. Young animals "rescued" and brought to Park Rangers often do not survive because they can no longer be cared for by their parents. Visitors with concerns for wildlife are asked to contact a ranger immediately and not touch, pick up, or move any animal. Additionally, visitors are urged to help baby animals by keeping all pets under control and obeying leash laws.