Human-wildlife conflict – Orphaned or injured wildlife

In almost all situations, the best way for a person to handle an injured or orphaned wild animal is to leave it alone.

Never attempt to handle wildlife

Being handled by humans is extremely stressful for wildlife. Even if your intention is to help, your attempts may actually harm wildlife and put yourself and others at risk.

Wildlife mothers are very protective and will aggressively defend their young. Larger animals, such as deer or moose, can cause serious injury to people who approach their offspring.

Orphaned wildlife

If you find a fawn, gosling or other young animal that appears to be without its mother, leave it alone. Wildlife mothers will often leave their young for periods of time to search for food. These young animals are not in danger.

In fact, some species have evolved to ensure that young can safely survive without their mothers for extended periods of time. Fawns, for example, have spots for camouflage, and emit virtually no odour, so that predators are unable to detect them by sight or smell.

If you are concerned about a specific animal you think has been orphaned, monitor it from a distance for at least 24 hours. If, after this time, you still do not see the mother return, call the nearest Fish and Wildlife office for advice on how to proceed in a way that's safest for you and for the animal.

Injured wildlife

Wildlife that has been injured has a better chance of survival when Mother Naturecan tend to it. The best thing is to leave the injured animal alone. Animals will be stressed from the injury and will be further stressed from your attempts to intervene. Stressed animals can become aggressive and cause injury to you and further injury to themselves.

Do not take the animal home to attempt to nurse it to health. In most cases, it is illegal to possess live wildlife.


Local wildlife rehabilitation groups may be able to help in some cases.

If the animal is so injured it can't move or if you need advice on a specific situation, call the nearest Fish and Wildlife office for advice.

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