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GFP Asks Public to Leave Animals Alone

PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is reminding people that it is important to leave wild animals alone.

“Every spring and summer, people find young wild animals that appear to be alone or orphaned,” said GFP senior wildlife biologist, Eileen Dowd Stukel. “The vast majority of the time, these animals are intentionally left alone as their mother is temporarily away finding food for herself and her young.”

Each year GFP receives numerous phone calls from people who find baby animals, and while people think they are being helpful, picking up the creatures can actually be harmful.

“By taking these young animals into captivity, you expose them to diseases and stress,” warns Dowd Stukel. “You may also expose yourself, your family and pets to parasites, injuries and diseases such as rabies.”

These are among the many reasons it is illegal to keep wild animals as pets.

A young wild animal has the best chance of surviving when in the care of its parents, which are very devoted to their young and almost never abandon them. If you see a young animal that is alone, stay away from it and keep children and pets away as well.

Learn more at gfp.sd.gov/wildlife-rehab.