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Young wild animals do not need help


Spring is here and wild animals are giving birth in forests and meadows, but also in the middle of the city. Encounters with young, seemingly helpless wild animals and young birds are on the increase again and awaken the protective instinct in many people. Unfortunately, with the will to help, they often do exactly the wrong thing: they collect the youngsters and take them away. This is usually the beginning of unimaginable animal suffering and often enough ends with the death of the animals or a sad life in permanent captivity - without any necessity.

Normal behavior: Young animals left alone are not in distress

Fawns and young hares that sit motionless for hours on end are not helpless, sick or even in distress - quite the opposite! This behavior ensures their survival. They can rely entirely on their perfect camouflage and are therefore not discovered and eaten by predators such as foxes and birds of prey. They also conserve their energy reserves and thus gain size and weight more quickly. Their mothers often only come by two or three times a day to suckle - this is completely normal and sufficient.

Becoming independent: From "nestlings" to "branchlings"

All young birds leave the protective nest at some point, make their first attempts to fly and continue to be fed by their parents outside the nest for a while. They change from "nestlings" to "branchlings". This is a completely normal phase in the life of every growing bird. Unfortunately, it is precisely during this phase, in which they become independent, that the little birds are collected in droves every year by concerned people, taken to vets or rescue centers and thus torn from their natural habitat completely unnecessarily.

Therefore: Always leave wild animals where you found them - outside, where they belong! It is best to keep your distance and not to touch or harass them!

Ein Jungvogel sitzt im Gras Ein Jungvogel © pexels

In the great outdoors: stay on the paths and keep dogs on a lead!

"Especially now, it is extremely important to stay on the paths in nature and, above all, to always keep dogs on a lead! Because even the best-behaved dog can get hunting fever. Unfortunately, wild animals are seriously injured and die in agony every year as a result of dog bites. Ground-nesting birds are sensitive to disturbance and are startled by dogs running around and abandon their nests or young. It is also dangerous for the dogs themselves to run through woods and meadows off the lead. On the one hand, there are many wild boars living around Jena, and bucks with young boars in particular are dangerous and superior opponents for any dog. On the other hand, they can easily contract parasites and diseases such as mange if they come into contact with a fox, for example," warns Dr. Frank Hünefeld, Team Leader for Nature Conservation at the City of Jena.

By the way: Leaving the paths, using wild trails and letting dogs run free are generally not permitted in the nature reserves - regardless of the time of year - in order to protect the flora and fauna. You can easily tell whether you are entering a nature reserve by the yellow signs with the owl.

Ein Rehkitz liegt im hohen Gras Ein Rehkitz liegt im hohen Gras © Sascha Händle/ Pixabay

Very rare cases: Injured animals

In very few cases where a wild animal is found, it is an animal in distress. Obvious signs of an animal that cannot sustain itself are, for example

  • visible wounds
  • an abnormal posture or position of wings or other extremities.

In these cases, the animal can be taken to a vet if necessary. However, the treatment of such animals is only justified if they can later be released back into the wild. No wild animal born or hatched in the wild deserves the torment of being kept in captivity, restricted in its freedom of movement and deprived of any opportunity to express its own species-specific behaviors.