It's spring in Colorado and more and more of us are continuing to hit the trails. Before much longer, wildflowers will start showing themselves, trees will turn green and wildlife will be born. Occasionally, a hiker or homeowner will find a small rabbit or fox or fawn under a tree along a trail or romping in the backyard or wandering down the street, with no parent anywhere to be seen. When they're young, these wild animals are adorable and our paternal and maternal instincts kicks in and we feel we must do something. Well, don't. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, every year they get phone calls from people who find wild animals they believe are abandoned and, even worse, sometimes people will pick up these small creatures and bring them to a CPW office.
The message from CPW when you see small animals by themselves: LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE.
According to CPW, it's not uncommon for a doe to go off for hours or even a day or so to feed, leaving its fawn in a safe place. The fawn is fine by itself, as long as a well-meaning but misguided human doesn't interfere. Once a human interacts with a young fawn or other juvenile animal, it runs the risk of its parents abandoning it. Also, a human scent can be transferred to the animal, bringing it to the attention of predators and putting it in danger.
An animal that is picked up and brought somewhere to be "rescued" must then be put in a rehabilitation center, but what's worse is that the animal, which may not be able to fend for itself, may have to be euthanized if a rehab center isn't available.
So what do you do? CPW says to take note of the animals location and if it is injured or if it is still there after 24 hours, call CPW (303-297-1192) and tell them what you see and where, and they'll take care of the rest. And don't try to feed it, either. What you give it is probably the wrong kind of food, and it's also illegal. For more information, visit the CPW website.
As a state agency, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is responsible for a variety of properties across Colorado. State parks, wildlife areas, state trust lands, fisheries, all fall under CPW. And, finding out where they are, the rules that govern them, the facilities or services they offer, etc, can be a little difficult. The "2020 Colorado State Recreation Lands" guide, a 77 page PDF is a wealth of information about every State Wildlife Area, State Trust Land, State Fish Unit and State Park. It can be downloaded for free from the CPW website.
Be Good. Do Good Things.