MCB CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
When encountering baby wildlife:
If you find a young wild animal or nest by itself with no adult nearby, this is normal in nature; don’t assume it’s abandoned or orphaned. Most young wildlife is left alone, sometimes for long periods of time, while their parents go elsewhere in search of food. Even young that have fallen out or been removed from the nest will still be cared for by their parents if people don’t intervene. Wild parents almost never abandon their young. Since a young wild animal’s best chance of survival is in the care of its own parents, a good rule of thumb is to leave it alone for at least 24 hours before taking any action. If a young wild animal is obviously and extremely thin, is clearly injured, or a dead adult is found nearby, contact Base Land and Wildlife Resources for assistance.
If you find a wild animal that you suspect needs help, the first and best thing you can do is leave it alone or put it back where it was found. Captivity is highly stressful for wild animals and providing care for them is highly specialized and usually risky for the animal. If the animal is injured but can move around on its own, then its best chance of survival is to be left to heal on its own. When in doubt, leave wild animals alone. If a wild animal is not moving or appears “frozen” in place, it’s not necessarily injured. Some species become very still when they feel threatened or cornered. The best thing to do is back away and give the animal plenty of space, ideally so it can no longer see or hear you. Give the animal plenty of time (at least several hours) to calm down and feel safe enough to move elsewhere if it is able.
If you have questions or concerns about wildlife, they can be directed to the Land and Wildlife Resources Section via email at CLJN_LWRS@usmc.mil.