Injured and Orphaned Wildlife

Leave Wildlife Alone! 

Wildlife Biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources recommend people to leave wildlife alone that appear to be abandoned. People pick up seemingly abandoned wildlife with the best of intentions, but do more to harm the animal than to help it. As a general rule, wildlife do not make good pets and are not truly abandoned when found in the wild. White-tailed deer and other species of wildlife leave their young for extended periods of time each day, only to return and take care of them. Additionally, many bird species can only learn to fly by experimentation which involves falling/flying out of the nest. If a person discovers a young mammal or bird, they should not handle it and should keep children and pets away from it. Staying away from the young animal reduces stress on the animal and increases the chance the mother will return to care for it.

In many cases, a wild animal removed from the wild does not live long. People are no substitute for natural wildlife parents. Not only is the practice detrimental to wildlife, holding native wildlife in captivity is against the law. Unless the wildlife is obtained from a legal source and a Captive Wildlife Permit is obtained in advance, 301 KAR 2:081 prohibits holding native wildlife as a pet.
Biologists also recommend leaving wildlife alone if a person comes upon an injured animal. If an injured or "abandoned" animal is picked up, it must either be put back where the person found it or taken to a KDFWR permitted rehabilitator. Once again, wildlife do not make good pets and should be left where people find them. If you see young wildlife alone, leave it be. Nature has a way of taking care of its own.