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Oh, they’re so cute!

April 29, 2012
Nick Buseman - Grundy County Conservation Operation Supervisor , Reinbeck Courier

To many of us, the season of spring is the season of new life. With the arrival of spring also marks the arrival of many new things to Grundy County's landscape. If you take time and look around, no matter where you are, you can see signs of spring. Maybe it's the new leaves taking shape on the tree outside your kitchen window, or perhaps it's the robin perched on your clothesline scanning the area for a good place to make a nest. There are cases of new arrivals scattered everywhere you look.

One of the most remarkable signs of spring is the birth of offspring by many different animals. Growing up in a farming county, many of us are familiar with seeing freshly born calves exploring their new home only days after birth, and handling human activity without many consequences. Along with new additions to many livestock farms throughout the state; there are new additions taking place throughout most of the undomesticated world.

Just in the last week our phone has been busy with calls due to the, "oh they're so cute" factor. The, "oh they're so cute" factor is one that most everyone has encountered or taken part in. Our calls usually take the form of finding a nest of baby bunnies with no mother around, or a fawn deer curled up in a field terrace with no mother to be seen. This is where the so cute factor comes into play. When we receive these calls one of the first things we ask is if the people left the babies alone. The response we usually get is, "They're so cute we had to pick them up and try to save them." We know the cute factor is a strong one, but it is one you must resist. To be honest, by making contact with the offspring you are actually working against their survival. Most wild animals will leave their offspring alone for a period of time throughout the day to feed, get food, or just to survive. A fawn deer is often left in one spot for its survival. The white spots they are born with are there for a reason. They are there to help in camouflage. The fawn is also born with the instinct to lay motionless when predators approach, knowing they have no chance to outrun any of Iowa's predators, they have the instinct to hide and to be unnoticed.

Wild animals see us as one of their top predators, so when we approach, often times the mother uses her survival instincts and flees. This is often the case when people find these animals and feel that they have been abandoned. When in reality, if left alone their mother will return and life will go on. So as cute as they are, please choose to leave them be. For their safety and also it's just not wise to handle wild animals. They are wild in name for a reason.

We also realize that there are cases where you know the mother is dead, or injured, or the location for raising their young is not suitable for you or them. In those cases we still recommend leaving the young in their present location until you have spoken to us or a wild animal care provider. Actually possessing wild animals is not only not recommended, but is illegal.

The staff of the Grundy County Conservation is not equipped for animal rehab, but we will definitely point you in the right direction, or assist in any way possible. Just remember wild animals have survived on their own for years, and leaving it in the hands of mother nature is usually their best bet.



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