Every spring, many Montanans are faced with a tough question, “Is that tiny fawn or bear cub abandoned or not? The answer, “If you care, leave them there.” Now a poster featuring this message is available to groups and educators from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
“The poster delivers a strong message. We want folks to understand that if they’re ever tempted to remove a newborn wild animal from the wild, in almost every case FWP will ask that the animal be immediately returned to the location where it was picked up,” said Ron Aasheim, FWP conservation education administrator.
It is illegal to remove or possess game animals and other creatures from the wild. Experience shows that most wild young will reunite with its parent, who is usually very nearby.
Aasheim said confusion occurs because wildlife commonly “cache” newborn animals for safety and to protect them from predators. To the average person it appears the newborn is abandoned.
“A bear cub, fawn or elk calf, for example, with no obvious signs of injury or distress is, in most cases, just fine where it is,” Aasheim said. “Generally, the adult is nearby. The most humane and thoughtful choice is to leave the area as quickly and quietly as possible, without disturbing anything.”
Even in cases of a young bird falling out of a nest, the bird can be put back in the nest and left there, as the adults are normally nearby.
It is also illegal to possess or remove any game animal, game bird, songbird, furbearer or bird of prey from the wild. Fines can be issued for these violations.