ATLANTA (WTXL) - Young wildlife don't need to be rescued.
That's the message from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which says the best thing you can do for young animals, any wildlife, is to leave them as you found them.
During the spring, people often come in contact with seemingly "orphaned" young wildlfe and want to help, but it is best not to bother the animals, officials said.
"When you take wildlife into your home, you often take away that animal's ability to then survive in the wild, where they belong," said John Bowers , Wildlife Resources Division chief of the Game Management Section.
"In most instances, there is an adult animal a short distance away - even though you may be able to see it," he said. "Adult animals, such as deer, spend most of the day away from their young to reduce the risk of a predator finding the young animal."
Georgia law prohibits the possession of most wildlife without a permit. If you encounter a seriously injured animal, or an animal that has clearly been orphaned, you can get help from local, licensed wildlife rehabilitators in Georgia and in Florida .
Handling wildlife poses health risks for both people and domestic pets. Wildlife may look healthy but can transmit life-threatening diseases, such as rabies, and carry such parasites as roundworms, lice, fleas and ticks.
If you encounter an animal that appears to show no fear of humans or dogs, or that seems to behave in a sick or abnormal manner, such as weaving or drooling, officials said, you should contact the local county health department or Wildlife Resources Division office.
The animal may be afflicted with rabies, distemper or another disease. Pets, livestock and humans should be kept away from the area where the animal was observed.