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Pa. game officials warn: Don’t touch the wildlife

Published May 28. 2019 12:17PM

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Carbon County Environmental Education Center urges Pennsylvanians the dangers of touching young wildlife.

It’s that time of year when wildlife mothers give birth to their young. Sometimes, the innocent, small creatures are left alone for long periods of time.

A lot of local residents see the babies and assume they are abandoned, but they’re not.

In many cases, people take the young animals to local environmental centers like the Carbon County Environmental Education Center in Summit Hill.

“When people bring in young wildlife, we say they abducted them from their mother,” Susan Gallagher, chief naturalist of the CCEEC, said. “Just like human mothers, wildlife mothers raise their babies a certain way, and they will be searching for them if they’re not in the place they left them.”

The abduction of young wildlife causes stress on the mothers, but it can also pose a threat to humans.

Touching unknown wildlife can lead to rabies, diseases caused by fecal matter and more. If someone does come in contact with wildlife, they are encouraged to follow proper hygiene methods.

Gallagher stresses the importance of communication, especially about creatures who cannot speak for themselves. She encourages people to send them pictures of the wildlife so they can visually see the animal.

“When we see the animal, we can make the decision if it needs help and if someone needs to travel to the scene,” Gallagher said.

All of the services provided at PA wildlife rehabilitation centers are voluntary. A lot of time will be saved if people ask questions about young wildlife before a wrong decision is made.

If anyone is concerned about a potential abandoned or injured animal, contact the Carbon County Environmental Education Center at 570-645-8597.

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