FREDERICTON (GNB) – The public is advised to avoid approaching moose calves or newborn fawns in the forest. People sometimes encounter fawns or calves in the woods in late spring and early summer. Even if they appear to be abandoned, it is best to leave the young animals alone.

This applies to all young animals, including baby birds, squirrels, raccoons and foxes. Leaving their nest, den or parents is a natural process for young animals, which should not be interrupted.

The prevalence of diseases in deer and moose has increased in Canada, and handling fawns increases the risk of diseases being spread. It also violates several provincial and federal laws designed to protect wildlife and animal health.

This is the peak calving and fawning season in New Brunswick. Female deer (doe) and moose (cow) may only visit their fawns or calves three or four times a day to nurse. Since these visits last only about 15 minutes, it is relatively uncommon to see a newborn with its mother. Even though the newborns can walk shortly after birth, female deer and moose conceal them in dry, sheltered areas within grass and shrubs.

The fawns’ speckled coats usually blend with the forest floor and they are not easily seen. Fawns less than a week old produce little scent. Female deer tend to stay away from their fawns, except when nursing, to keep from drawing attention to the hiding place.

Many people who find calves and fawns think they are helping the young animal by taking it home or to an office of the Department of Natural Resources when, in fact, animals that are taken away from their mothers usually die. The department advises hikers, campers, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to stay away from all newborn animals in the wild.