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Taking baby animals out of nature, the wrong thing to do

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 6:09 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Springtime means more animals coming out to play. Recently, there was a bear spotted in Lead. Likely, the same one as the one in years past. Mountain lions are more than comfortable exploring Rapid City.

What does this impact? Well, there’s an outdoor that comes to mind.

Hiking, for some, is a part of the allure and lifestyle that’s embedded in the beauty of the hills. However, it’s a lifestyle we share with wildlife, and if ever confronted by the dangerous kind, there’s one overarching rule of thumb to keep in mind, according to Chris Dekker, a Wildlife Conservation Officer.

“Anytime you run into a wild animal, whether it’s a bear, a mountain lion, a bull elk that’s in rut, you need to not run away, make yourself as big as possible. If you’ve got a coat on, spread your coat out, make loud noises and back away slowly. Most of the time,” says Dekker, “these animals are going to be just as scared as you as you might be of it. You don’t want to turn around and run, because pray runs from predator, and so you don’t want it to think that you are prey.”

The safety of the public is obviously important, but the safety of animals is another thing to keep in mind.

More and more people have been tempted to remove baby animals from their environments, fearing that when they are alone, they might be in danger. However, more danger is imposed for them when people take matters into their own hands.

“Anytime you see baby animals in the wild, the best thing to do is leave them where they are. If I’m with my children and we’re playing outside in the sandbox, I know my kids are safe, I can go inside quick and they’re going to be safe in that sandbox, because I know where they are. I’ve put them in a safe spot. It’s the same for wild animals. Mothers are going to put there babies in a safe spot. It might seem weird to us. It might be your backyard. It might be somewhere where you wouldn’t expect them to be,” says Dekker, “but that mother deemed that a safe area for her baby at that point in time. She might be gone for five or six hours, and she’ll come back. You might not see her. She might come back at night, but when you remove that animal from that area, the mother is no longer able to find it.” Dekker stresses that “you’re taking away its chance to survive.”

What if they’re really cute, though?

“They are cute and they are awesome, there’s nothing cooler than that. What’s really cool,” says Dekker, “is leaving them in the wild, and getting to come back and watch them grow.”

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