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STATE WIDE–Springtime in Indiana means you might see baby birds or rabbits or deer, and even though you may have the best of intentions, it’s best to leave them alone, even if you think the mom has left them, said Jessica Merkling, Urban Wildlife Biologist, with the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, on Indiana Outdoors radio.

“My message would be more often than not, wildlife doesn’t really need our help. So, if we can observe from a distance, that’s usually much more helpful than getting involved,” she said.

Merkling said for most wildlife that has a nest or a den it’s normal for the mother to leave them for long periods, since she also has to eat.

“If you see maybe a fawn or a nest of rabbits, it’s normal for mom to leave and come back. Unless you see mom actually get hurt or you see outward appearances of distress on the animal it’s usually not a reason to be involved,” she said. “The best thing is to walk away and give the animal space. Mom probably doesn’t want to come back if you’re sitting and staring at her to see if she’s doing a good job.”

But, there may be a situation where a person could get involved. If the mom hasn’t come back for over a day or if there are animals hurt, you can contact one of the state’s permitted wildlife rehabilitators.

“They’re the ones that are actually permitted and trained to handle orphaned and injured wildlife in Indiana,” said Merkling.

You can find one on the DNR’s website at http://www.wildlife.in.gov .

But, they are often booked up in spring. Merkling said many times, though, it is still best to leave the situation, even if you have the best of intentions and even if it seems hopeless for the animals.

“Sometimes the best thing, and it may sound really harsh, is to let nature take its course,” she said. “It’s never fun to watch and I understand it can be really hard. But, sometimes that is the best option because we don’t want to add any undue stress to wildlife.”

And, so it goes.