Does that baby animal need help? DEM seeks to teach Rhode Islanders how to react to young wildlife

Environment

Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As the weather gets warmer, humans aren’t the only ones spending a lot more time outdoors.

After a long winter, you may notice a lot of smaller critters running around, many of which are likely babies.

This week, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is offering a virtual program to teach people about young wildlife and how they can respond.

According to the DEM, during the months of May and June, sightings of deer fawns, fox kits, songbird chicks, and baby squirrels become much more common, which results in an uptick in calls to the DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Oftentimes, young animals that appear abandoned or in danger are typically fine and should just be given some space, the DEM said. There are, however, some isolated cases in which an animal needs further attention and perhaps veterinary care.

“We always appreciate public concern for our wildlife, especially vulnerable, young animals.” DEM Wildlife Outreach Coordinator Mary Gannon said. “However, sometimes folks can become overly concerned and get too close to little critters who really just need peace and quiet and to be left alone.”

Getting too close can cause unnecessary stress for the animal, according to Gannon. She said the hope is that the DEM’s virtual program will help Rhode Islanders understand the difference between an animal in need of help versus one that should simply be left alone.

The DEM is hosting the program in collaboration with the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island (WRARI).

Anyone who finds an injured wild animal is advised to contact WRARI at (401) 294-6363, while anyone who comes across an animal that appears to be sick or acting abnormally should call the DEM’s law enforcement division at (401) 222-3070.

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