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Springtime Alert: Do Not Disturb Young Wildlife

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While this spring's weather has been a little more variable than usual, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials say one thing for certain is the arrival of this year's young wildlife, as well as the almost certainty that Pennsylvanians will encounter young wildlife from their backyards to the mountains.

"Whether enjoying your backyard or hiking in the woods, it is time for our annual message for Pennsylvanians to leave wildlife alone and in the wild, especially young of the year," said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director.  "Being outdoors in the spring is an enjoyable way to spend time and learn more about nature.

"In the coming days and weeks, it will become common to find young deer, rabbits, birds, raccoons or other wildlife, some of which may appear to be abandoned.  Rest assured that in most cases, the young animal is not an orphan or abandoned and the best thing you can do is to leave it alone."

DuBrock noted adult animals often leave their young while the adults forage for food.  Also, wildlife often relies on a natural defensive tactic called the "hider strategy," where young animals will remain motionless and "hide" in surrounding cover while adults draw the attention of potential predators or other intruders away from their young.

"While it may appear as if the adults are abandoning their young, in reality, this is just the animal using its natural instincts to protect its young," DuBrock said.  "Also, young animals often have camouflaging color patterns to avoid being detected by predators. 

"Wild animals are not meant to be pets, and we must all resist our well-meaning and well-intentioned urge to want to care for wildlife. Taking wildlife from its natural settings and into your home may expose or transmit wildlife diseases to people or domestic animals.  Wildlife also may carry parasites – such as fleas, ticks or lice – that you wouldn't want infesting you, your family, your home or your pets."

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