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June 12, 2002


For more information contact:
Al Ivany at 609-984-1795

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife urges New Jerseyans to leave young wildlife undisturbed.

"Every year, especially during the spring and early summer, the lives of many young animals are disrupted," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Bob McDowell. "Well intentioned people may attempt to 'save' these animals, and more often than not, the mother is nearby witnessing her young being taken."

Potential acts of kindness often have the opposite effect. Instead of being left to learn how to survive, young animals will be denied their natural learning experiences. They often become attached to their caregivers and cannot be returned to the wild. In addition, nearly all wild birds and mammals are protected under the law and may not be legally taken from the wild or kept. Only when they are found injured or with their dead mother is there reason to do something and only under these circumstances can an animal be legally kept while it is being transferred to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Those who encounter such a situation may contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 609-292-2965 or visit the Division's website at for information on the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center. Above all, individuals should never consider wild animals as possible pets.

"People must resist the temptation of adopting wildlife because of the risk of bringing wildlife-borne diseases like rabies and parasites such as roundworms, lice, fleas and ticks into the home," McDowell said.