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If You Care, Leave Them There

With the arrival of the spring breeding season, Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn reminds residents that it’s normal for wild animals to leave their young alone for several hours at a time while they look for food.

“Each year people with good intentions remove young from nests and dens and bring them to Willowbrook, thinking they’re rescuing the animals,” explains Sandy Fejt, the center’s site manager. “Unfortunately, in most cases they’re merely causing foraging parents to return to empty nests.”

Forest Preserve District ecologist Brian Kraskiewicz also reminds people to never treat any wild animals as pets. “Just because they’re alone, that doesn’t mean fawns or other young animals need our help,” Kraskiewicz says. “Removing them from their natural habitats and teaching them to associate people with food can make it impossible for them to return to normal behaviors.”

Human intervention may be helpful if an animal is injured or truly abandoned, so concerned wildlife watchers should contact Willowbrook at (630) 942-6200 or willowbrook@dupageforest.org for guidance.

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