Treat the babies of the wild with care - Tucson News Now

Treat the babies of the wild with care

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Orphaned baby skunks nursed to strength at Tucson Wildlife Center Tuesday.  Those at the center knew they were orphans, and needed help.

The center has had almost a thousand wild animals so far this year, which is the same as all of 2013.

"This is especially a very busy time for us,” said center director Dee Kidd.

From birds to bunnies, the young are here or on their way.  And plenty can happen to them around busy streets and crowded backyards.

Baby birds aren't necessarily hurt because they're on the ground.  But Kidd said that in most cases returning one to the nest is permissible.

"It is okay to pick up the baby bird and put it back up in the nest.  It's even okay to make a little makeshift nest, put it in the tree, as long as you know the parent is watching, they will be back,” she said.

But don't touch the others.  The Arizona Game and Fish Department had to take a fawn last year when someone in Willcox thought they rescued an abandoned mule deer.

"That is not usually the case.  Mom is out eating, foraging, and will return to take care of her young,” said Game and Fish spokesman Mark Hart.  The deer ended up in a Prescott zoo.

The same warning goes for baby bobcats.  Just two weeks ago a maintenance worker of a local church moved some kittens and all three bit him.  Not in that case, but usually a bite means death for the kittens.

"If the animal is something that we can capture, yes, it has to be put down because you have to have the remains to test for rabies,” Hart said.

"They can be really dangerous, and, if they bite a human, there's a good chance that they may be euthanized to be tested for rabies, so people need to pretty much leave them alone and let us deal with them,” Kidd said.

Tucson Wildlife Center can be reached at (520) 290 – WILD(9453)

Game and Fish has tips at http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/urban_injured_sick.shtml  and can be reached at 1-800-352-0700, the Operation Game Thief hotline.

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