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Wildlife Rescue Center warns against accidental ‘abduction’ of baby animals

A baby leucistic gray squirrel under care at the Wildlife Rescue Center.
Wildlife Rescue Center
A baby leucistic gray squirrel under care at the Wildlife Rescue Center

What should you do if you stumble across a baby animal in the wild? The right answer isn’t always obvious.

Organizations like the Wildlife Rescue Center in Ballwin have the facilities to treat injured or abandoned baby animals — but removing the baby animal unnecessarily can lead to what wildlife rehabilitation experts call “abduction with intent to rescue."

In fact, wild animals often leave their babies alone for long stretches of time. Taking the baby, or feeding it, could hurt its chance of survival. If you see an animal you think needs help, Wildlife Rescue Center executive director Kim Rutledge said to contact a wildlife rehabilitator.

“As long as nobody is super obviously injured,” she added, “you want to give them as much space as possible. Mom's going to come around when she feels like it's safe to do so.”

Related Event
What: Wildlife Rescue Center open house
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (registration required)
Where: 1128 New Ballwin Road, Ballwin 63021

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

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