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Baby Animals Don't Need Your Help

NPS Photo/Ke Qiang Ruan, 2015 Fire Island Photo Contest Entry

Springtime in the Mountain West means newborn animals. And with that comes opportunities for some very adorable wildlife viewing and photography. But officials want to remind visitors and locals alike to hold back from interacting with young wildlife.

In 2016, two visitors in Yellowstone National Park decided a baby bison looked cold. So they loaded it into the back of their car and drove to a ranger station. Ultimately this led to the bison's death.

Sara DiRienzo is with the Wyoming Game and Fish.

"All sorts of wildlife from pronghorn to birds will leave their young behind when they go in pursuit of food," said DiRienzo.

The mom will do this to protect the baby animal from predators. DiRienzo added that just because you don't see the mother doesn’t mean she’s not around.

"The mom may be nearby and in cases of like bear, bison, moose… the mom could be aggressive in protecting her young," DiRienzo said.

If you're absolutely certain the animal has been abandoned, DiRienzo said you still shouldn't take matters into your own hands. Instead, call your local game and fish.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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