WVDNR urges public to leave young wildlife alone

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 1:21 PM EDT
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FRENCH CREEK, W.Va (WDTV) - With the arrival of spring weather and emergence of young wildlife, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) is reminding people that possessing wildlife without a permit is illegal and that handling wild animals can spread disease and parasites that can be fatal.

“People often have good intentions when they see a young animal in the woods, but getting close and touching the animal is really harmful to the animal and can be dangerous for you,” said Vinnie Johnson, a wildlife biologist for the WVDNR.

Handling wildlife increases the risk of transmitting rabies, roundworms, ticks, Lyme disease and other diseases and parasites.

Authorities say illegal possession of wildlife can result in fines up to $300 and/or up to 100 days in jail.

“We don’t want to discourage wildlife viewing, but folks need to know that this is a pastime they need to enjoy from a distance with the use of binoculars,” Johnson said.

Each spring, WVDNR district offices receive numerous calls about young wildlife, especially fawns, rabbits and birds. But oftentimes, what appears to be an abandoned animal is actually natural.

Click here to learn more about wildlife in West Virginia.

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