Fish and Game: Enjoy baby wildlife from afar to be safe

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 7:32 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Young wildlife may be exciting to see every spring, but the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a reminder that what’s adorable could also be dangerous if people get too close.

“Mothers of newborn wildlife are very defensive, so we always ask people to give new born baby wildlife, whether it’s bear cubs or moose calves, a wide berth if you see them,” said Fish and Game Biologist Cory Stantorf.

Stantorf said normally docile moose will stand their ground to defend newborns against anything they perceive as a threat, which is another reason people who are riding bikes or walking on trails need to be very alert.

“If you are going down single-track trails or narrow trails, pick trails that have a wider sight line that you can see,” he said. “Because high speed equals high risk.”

One of the biggest issues in springtime is people who think they are helping “orphaned” animals. Stantorf said most of the time, the mother is nearby, although she can leave babies for up to a day on their own.

“Don’t assume they’re orphaned if you don’t immediately see mom,” he said. “A lot of times mothers will stash their young in what they perceive to be a safe place and then go off and feed and then come back and reunite with their calves.”

People who have any concerns about wildlife should call Fish and Game at 267-2257.

“Don’t hesitate to give us a call,” Stantorf said. “We’ll take the information, go out, and figure out if mom is still in the picture.”

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