Young Wildlife Even Near Wildfires Don’t Need To Be Rescued

Young Wildlife Even Near Wildfires Don’t Need To Be Rescued

New Mexico Game and Fish
New Mexico Game and Fish

SANTA FE, NM –-( Wildlife across New Mexico may have become stressed or displaced because of wildfires, but although animals may appear to be lost or abandoned, that does not always mean they need to be rescued.

The Department of Game and Fish is urging people not to pick up deer fawns, elk calves, bear cubs or other wild animals that may appear to be injured or abandoned. Usually, the wild mothers are nearby and will return for their young shortly. Removing the young animals – even with the best intentions – decreases their chances of survival.

“It may seem like the right thing to do, but you’re not ‘rescuing’ a young animal when you take it from its mother,” said Chris Neary, the Department’s Northeast Area Chief in Raton. “In almost all cases, the best thing to do is just leave it alone and quietly leave the area.”

People who pick up wild animals also risk picking up diseases and parasites such as fleas and ticks the animals may be carrying.

It’s very difficult to successfully return wild animals – especially bears — to their natural environment once they have been closely associated with humans. Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators can legally care for injured or abused wildlife in New Mexico. Rehabilitors statewide have reported an increase in animals brought to them this summer, many related to wildfires.

The Department encourages people to report wild animals that are injured or could be considered safety threats. Reports can be made at offices in Santa Fe, (505) 476-8000; Albuquerque, (505) 222-4700; Raton, (575) 445-2311; Las Cruces, (575) 532-2100; or Roswell, (575) 624-6135.

For more information about how to keep wildlife alive and you safe, please visit and click on the “publications” tab in the top-left corner of the page.

NM Keeping Wildlife Alive Brochure

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