600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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May 22, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073

Fines possible for picking up young wild animals

OLYMPIA -- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers will be citing persons who pick up young wild animals at any time.

Taking wildlife into captivity is against state law. A person convicted of the violation is subject to a fine of at least $152.

People often pick up newly-born wildlife each spring, WDFW officials say. Some people believe they are helping "orphaned" babies, but in almost all cases the mother animal is near. Deer in particular will leave fawns on their own for short periods of time to avoid drawing predators to their odorless offspring by their own adult body scent.

Last spring more than 30 cases of "adopted" whitetail deer fawns were handled by WDFW officers in a three-county area of northeast Washington. This year WDFW officers will issue citations to those who pick up fawns without evidence of dead does.

Seal pups also are picked up on western Washington's beaches at this time of year. WDFW officers have written tickets in recent years and believe the citations have helped reduce the number of pick-ups.

WDFW officials say their message is simple: Leave wild animal babies alone.