Story last updated at 6/4/2014 - 3:06 pm
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is reminding Alaskans that May and June mark the season of wildlife babies. Newborn moose calves, bear cubs and other wildlife young may be encountered nearly anywhere in Alaska - including city greenbelts and trails used for hiking and biking. Hikers, bikers, dog walkers and others are urged to keep a wary eye out for wildlife babies and to not assume young animals found alone are orphaned.
Last month's discovery and rescue of wolf pups abandoned in a den where crews were actively fighting a wildfire is rare, and calling a state biologist to the scene was the right thing to do. More commonly when young animals are encountered, mothers are nearby and will return once people leave.
Mother moose and bears frequently walk out of sight from their young or become separated from calves by fences or roads while sow black bears often send cubs up trees to wait before leaving to find food. In nearly all cases, the mothers return to their young.
Mothers of newborn wildlife are often protective and attacks by moose aggressively defending calves from people and pets are reported each spring in Alaska. If a moose calf or bear cub is encountered without its mother immediately in view, be alert because you may have walked between them. The best course of action is usually to turn and leave from the direction you came.
Even when young animals truly are orphaned, the best policy is to leave them alone. Do not attempt to feed or pick them up; unless you have a permit, this type of contact with animals is illegal and may result in a fine.
If you observe a young animal left alone for an extended period of time, call the nearest Alaska Department of Fish and Game office; if the situation involves an immediate public safety concern, contact the Alaska State Troopers.