‘If You Care, Leave Them There’

A local outdoor learning facility is encouraging people to leave wild animals alone

If you care, leave them there.

That’s the motto a local outdoor learning facility is encouraging people to go by, after a baby bison who was picked up at Yellowstone National Park was euthanized earlier today.

The father and son thought the animal looked cold, so they put it in their car last week.

But since then, the National Park Service says the heard wasn’t accepting the calf, so they had to put it down.

One local wildlife expert says this incident is a reminder to leave wild animals alone.

The Director of The Outdoor Campus says instances like this don’t just happen in national parks.

In fact just Monday alone, at least 4 people called in with concerns about baby animals.

“Most people think they’ve been abandoned, and they really truly haven’t,” says Thea Miller Ryan. “The parents step away and eat and the babies will lie still or they move around a little bit, but they’re actually okay.”

Ryan says letting the animal be is helping it more than trying to save it.

“Immediately when a human contacts a baby animal when it’s wild it causes a lot of stress both for the baby animal and the mother,” says Ryan. “If it’s a mammal, you’ll often leave your scent on them and then the mother will reject it.”

If it does get rejected, Ryan says there’s no place for it to go.

“We don’t have a facility here to do that with Game Fish and Parks or the Outdoor Campus,” says Ryan. “The zoo doesn’t take them, the Humane Society doesn’t take them and Animal Control doesn’t take them.”

So those who do bring animals in are just asked to take them back where they were found, leaving it up to Mother Nature.

“Even though that baby animal might not end up making it, it may serve as food for another wild animal,” says Ryan. “Everything has to eat, and if that makes you feel better about it that’s one way to look at it. It’s awfully hard to leave things outside when they’re so cute and fluffy, but we just have to do it.”

Ryan says picking up an animal can be harmful to the person as well.

Any animal with fur could have flees or other bugs on it making it dangerous to touch.

Every time The Outdoor Campus gets a call about someone picking up or wondering what to do with wild animals, they’re posting a picture of a sparrow on social media to remind people to leave the animal where it is.