Local wildlife rehabilitator offers some tips on how to deal with orphaned or injured wildlife
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
FREDERIC – Even with a heavy blanket of snow covering most of northwestern Wisconsin, it’s only a matter of time before people start crossing paths with wildlife and their offspring. This week the DNR is kicking off their Keep Wildlife Wild campaign in the hope to create awareness about what to do if you come across newborn animals or recently hatched birds in your backyard or while hiking the spring woods. In most cases, the DNR encourages you to keep wildlife wild by simply leaving them alone.
Local wildlife rehabilitator Tamara Larson, of Frederic, the only advanced and federally licensed rehabber in the area, said it’s already busy around her rural Wisconsin farm. She said several adult owls, including barred owls and even snowy owls, have been brought in, either sick or starving. Those birds are almost always transported to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center.
Larson said someone brought in a newborn fox that was half-frozen on the road. She said they usually don’t get foxes in this early in the year but it’s possible the mother was killed or the den was flooded with water. But Larson wants to remind people that just because you see a baby animal alone, it doesn’t mean that it is orphaned. That is often the case when people encounter a newborn fawn.
“Leave baby fawns alone because mom might be feeding nearby and not come back for hours,” said Larson, but the situation is different if you see a doe that may have been killed by a car and the fawn is seen nearby. She encourages people to contact the DNR office, a local rehabber or a game warden. It’s against the law to keep any wild animal for a pet.
“If you do find a doe hit on the road and the baby fawn is lying there, you can’t keep it as a pet and it’s unhealthy for a fawn. You need to bring it to a rehabilitator or contact the local game warden,” Larson said.
The same goes for other wildlife, too, from baby squirrels and skunks to raccoons, turtles and birds. Larson has rehabbed just about every creature that can be found on the Wisconsin landscape, but people should contact the experts first before making the first move.
The DNR website has a wealth of information regarding how to keep wildlife wild, including information on how to tell if an animal is truly orphaned. From cottontail rabbits to turtles and songbirds, the DNR website has the information, which can be found by typing keyword Keep Wildlife Wild, at dnr.wi.gov.
Larson said you can contact her directly, at 715-491-5920, or the DNR office in Spooner during business hours at 715-635-2101, which will help direct you to the proper person.