The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is urging people to leave wildlife babies alone. It’s best to leave them where they belong, in the wild.
The DNR says it typically gets inundated with calls from people with good intentions who are worried after stumbling upon wildlife babies. The people mistakenly believe the babies were orphaned. In reality, the DNR says, “Babies of most wildlife species leave their nests or dens well in advance of being able to care for themselves. Although broods or litters may become widely scattered during this fledgling period, they still remain under the direct care and feeding of their parents.”
The department says sadly, for example, most birds have a less than 20% chance of surviving their first year. It is a normal occurrence in nature.
The survival rate of wildlife babies that were mistakenly “rescued” by people is just as bad. Many die from the stress of being handled, talked to, and placed into the unfamiliar surroundings of a slick-sided cardboard box. If they do survive the trauma, they often succumb to starvation from improper nourishment, pneumonia, or other sicknesses brought on by people.
The DNR also says not only is rescuing a baby from its mother bad judgment, it’s also illegal.