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May 10, 2010

Wisconsin DNR and HSUS Join Forces to Keep Wildlife Wild

Educational PSAs to air on radio stations statewide

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and The Humane Society of the United States have joined forces on a public service announcement campaign to educate Wisconsinites about the importance of allowing wild animals to remain in their natural habitat. The PSAs also inform citizens what to do when they find wildlife truly orphaned or injured. The radio announcements are airing from May 10 through June 13 on stations statewide.

Many wild animals give birth at this time of year in Wisconsin, and people frequently encounter young wildlife while outdoors. However, baby animals found alone are not necessarily orphans. Some wildlife parents, like rabbits, foxes and deer, leave their young alone during the day, sometimes for long periods. If the babies are still dependent, the mother is often nearby, discreetly keeping an eye on them. Well-intentioned citizens often mistake these animals for orphans and remove them from their native habitat, often doing more harm than good. 

Also problematic are people who intentionally keep young wildlife as pets, a practice that is illegal in Wisconsin and could potentially expose people to diseases carried by wildlife, as well as spread diseases among wildlife. 

The public education PSAs are designed to remind people that "wild animals were born to be wild." The announcements direct listeners who want more information about orphaned or injured wildlife to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource's Call Center or webpage, where they can find species-specific information to help determine if human intervention is necessary and how to contact a local wildlife rehabilitator. "By doing this, we are conserving resources for animals that truly need it, while ensuring that healthy animals are raised as they should be — by their own parents in their native habitat," mentioned Jennifer Haverty, wildlife rehabilitation liaison for the DNR.  

"Everyone wins if healthy wildlife is left where it belongs in the wild," said Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark. "Each year, the DNR receives calls about well-intended people removing animals from the wild and illegally taking possession of the animals. These are time-consuming, emotionally charged situations where nobody wins — not the animal, the people involved, not our agency. Our goal is to avoid these situations through public education and providing the alternative of turning injured and truly orphaned animals over to licensed wildlife rehabilitators."

"We are thrilled to join forces with Wisconsin DNR to educate the public about keeping wildlife in the wild, and to provide resources for those who want to help orphaned or injured animals," said HSUS Wisconsin state director Alyson Bodai. "The Humane Society of the United States commends the Wisconsin DNR for allocating resources to this important effort."

Audio recordings of the public service announcements are available here and here. For more information about orphaned wildlife, visit humanesociety.org/injuredwildlife or Wisconsin DNR's website.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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