Thursday, May 19, 2016

Respect Wildlife and Keep Your Distance

Both deer and elk frequently feed, roam, and sleep on our property. We respect all wildlife that visits us and never try to get too close. With any wild animal, it is always wise to keep your distance.


Always respect wildlife and do not approach them.

Our house sits on about seven acres. One day, not long after we moved here, I was wandering up our back hill. Suddenly, I stopped. One more step and my foot would have landed on a fawn! This little baby deer was laying motionless, still breathing but giving no sign that it was conscious or aware of me. I knew better than to touch it, but I was quite concerned when I realized a mother deer was not nearby.

I waited about an hour, then climbed the hill again. The baby was exactly where it had been before. Still no mama in sight. Hours later, there was still no sign of her. I assumed she would be back, but I was a little worried. Could the doe have been run off by a dog, or hit by a car? I love animals, and couldn't help but
worry about this little deer.

However, I did NOT try to touch it or move it or feed it. Instead, I decided to consult an expert to ask if there was anything either their department or I should do. I called Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and explained my concern. They assured me the mother would be back. Apparently, does often go off in search of food and leave their young; the babies know to curl up and stay still if approached. Sure enough, the next day the fawn was gone.

I was reminded of almost stumbling on this little deer when I read a newspaper article this week about a tragic occurrence in Yellowstone National Park. Tourists may have had good intentions, but they meddled in something they didn't understand and caused the unfortunate death of the very animal they were trying to save.

It was reported that on May 9th, 2016 some Yellowstone Park tourists became concerned that a newborn bison calf was cold, so they put it in the back of their vehicle and took it to the ranger's station. Their actions led to a $110 fine for them and the death of the poor little calf.


Wildlife should not be approached.

Visitors to Yellowstone Park "must stay at least 100 yards from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards from other large animals." (Bison are considered a 'large' animals.) This rule is meant to protect humans from becoming injured by the animals, which are all wild and unpredictable. The purpose of the rule is also to protect the animals who live in the park from humans. Did you know bison can sprint up to 30 mph; three times faster than a human can run?

Apparently, as a result of being handled, the bison cub was rejected by the herd and attempts to reunite it with them failed. The calf continued to approach people and cars, so it had to be euthanized. This could have been avoided if the tourists had just left it where it was and found a ranger, reported the situation and explained their concern. The ranger would surely have explained that newborn bison calves can survive much colder temperatures than the weather had been that day. 

Sometimes our good intentions are not enough. Both my story about the solitary little fawn and this recent event in Yellowstone clearly illustrate that wildlife should be left alone.


Elk come right into our fenced back yard.


Have you ever approached a wild animal?
How did that work out?

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12 comments :

  1. I guess it's natural to want to help wild animals, but we probably often don't fully understand the situation. Thanks for the good reminder.

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    1. My guess is that you are a person that would not need to be reminded Karen- although, when we see a baby animal, sometimes I think common sense just goes out the window!

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  2. I saw that story. And my heart ached. And still does.

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    1. Have you seen the photo circulating on Facebook? That little bison looked really out of place in the back of a vehicle.

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  3. I think our instinct is definitely to help the animal - but you're so right - we need to leave them alone. Nature knows what it's doing!

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  4. This is so true! We have lived all over the place and have had some beautiful wildlife living in our backyards. It is always the best idea to keep your distance! What a sad story about that poor little bison :(

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    1. It's wise to remember that a wild animal can always be dangerous - and that we can endanger them.

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  5. Such a sad story about that little bison. Geez. My heart goes out to it.
    You're reminded me of the time we heard Oscar, our late Golden Retriever, barking in the back yard. He never barked so we looked out to see what was going on. He was barking into a blooming rhododendron bush (it was flowering, I'm not swearing :)) Closer inspection revealed a baby crow was perched within. Two hours later it was still sitting there. Hurt? Tired? We didn't know and I called the local wildlife folks to ask what to do. Their advice was to leave it alone. The parents would be watching from a tree and waiting for it to fly. Phewf. So glad we didn't interfere. Thanks for your reminder to let nature take its course. She knows what she's doing.

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    1. What fun to see a baby crow. And what a good dog Oscar was, to not rip out the bush to try and get at it!

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  6. My stupidity comes in when I try to get closer to take pictures much to my husband's horror. I don't know what happens I just think "great shot" and all brain cells fly out the window.

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  7. I always think about birds being "rescued" and how most die from the good intentions. If they'd been left alone, their parents would probably find them and all would be well.

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Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here!