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The best way to protect young wildlife: leave them alone

Moose_Calf_Kelley Jacobson 5-17-19
Moose_Calf_Kelley Jacobson 5-17-19(KTUU)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 2:08 PM AKDT
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If you come across a newborn moose calf alone in the woods or in a backyard, chances are its mother is nearby. Yes, they might look cute and helpless, but biologists are warning Alaskans who encounter newborn wildlife to leave them alone.

Newborn animals are already being seen across the state and more are expected between mid-May and the end of June.

Biologists say cow moose can be particularly dangerous during calving season. Each spring attacks on people and pets by cows aggressively defending calves are reported.

“You’ll want to give moose calves plenty of space,” warns Anchorage Area Wildlife Biologist Dave Battle.

If you find yourself near a moose calf or bear cub without its mother in view, be alert, you may have walked between them. If this does happen biologists say to back away and leave the area from the direction you came. And remember, just because an animal is alone, doesn’t mean it is orphaned. In nearly all cases, the mother returns to her young.

Battle says to try to avoid potentially dangerous situations by avoiding single tracks and narrow overgrown trails. Making noise is also a good way to alert wildlife of your presence.

Birds, young porcupines, and especially black-tailed deer fawns are also receiving unwanted attention.

“There have been instances where people have picked up and tried to care for a deer fawn,” Paul Converse in the Southeast Alaska office said.

While people have good intentions, Converse says he wishes they would not put themselves in these roles.

If you see a young animal that appears to have been left alone for more than 48 hours, contact the nearest Alaska Department of Fish and Game office. Or use the department’s smartphone-friendly link to file a report online by visiting

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