Lone young wildlife usually have an unseen mother watching nearby
PRATT -- Every spring and early summer, hundreds of “orphaned” wild animals are picked up when they would do perfectly well left alone. In most cases, the intended “rescue” results in a death sentence. If the animal does end up in the hands of a professional wildlife rehabilitator, its chances are better but still not good. And over-worked rehabilitators have enough to do with animals that are genuinely injured.

Bird and animal mothers will often leave their young in search of food during the day. Humans entering the area are often convinced that the young have been abandoned and pick them up in order to "save" them. Unfortunately, such action almost always leads to the animals' death, sometimes slowly and painfully.

In addition to the damage done to wild species, the health risk to humans picking up wild animals is high. Rabies is common to many species of wild animals. Raccoons often carry a parasite which attacks the brain. Deaths can, and have occurred from this parasite.
It must also be emphasized that picking up these young animals -- under any circumstances -- is against the law. Both the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have regulations against such activity. Fines can be as much as $1,000.

Wild animals are better off left in the wild. They are not puppies or kittens and are seldom tamed, even by those who know what they are doing. They cannot legally be inoculated by veterinarians, and few people really know how to care for them.

If you see young animals in the wild this spring or summer, consider yourself lucky to have seen them. But remember, their mother is most likely hunting or watching nearby. Leave them to the wild world where they belong.