Minden Press-Herald

Sep 21st

Adopting wild animals illegal and dangerous

I Found A Baby Animal Now Whatkate-8

They're cute, they look cuddly and they look abandoned, but in most cases baby wild animals are anything but when found alone.

Not only is it illegal to possess a wild animal, but it can also be dangerous to both them and humans.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Kate Hasapes says the first thing a person should do if finding an animal they believe to be abandoned is to call LDWF or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

"The majority of times, the animal is not abandoned," she said. "I hate to use the word, but taking the animal is kidnapping. It's taking a fawn (or other animal) from a perfectly natural situation."

Squirrels and birds sometimes fall from their nests - the solution, Hasapes said, is to simply put them back. Though some nests are not obvious, such as rabbits' nests, which are just more or less indentions in the grass.

LDWF receives more calls about fawns than any other animal.

Does protect their fawns by separating them by up to a couple of hundred yards. The fawns' protection against predators is to just lay still, appearing lifeless, as their spots serve as a camouflage.

"Their only survival strategy is to lay down and don't move," Hasapes said. "The mom will come back up to eight hours later to nurse, maybe more. But she is watching."
Wild animals can also carry diseases that are transmittable to humans.

Keeping them in captivity also reduces their chance of survival if ever released.

"They have no fear of people, dogs, cars, and coyotes look like dogs, or they walk up to hunters," Hasapes said.

Migratory birds such as hawks and owls are protected by federal law.

Anyone convicted of possessing four-legged wild animals as pets can face up to a $700 fine and up to 90 days in jail, depending on the animal.

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