BALTIMORE (WJZ) – The Maryland Department of Health and the Department of Natural Resources want to remind people in Maryland not to feed or pet wild animals and to watch them from a safe distance.
“Although attempts to care for wild animals are often made with good intentions, it can pose serious risks to the animals and humans involved,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr Jinlene Chan. “All wild animals, especially young wild animals, should be left alone in their natural environment. It is safe to observe wildlife from a distance, but do not attempt to feed, pet, or rescue any wild animal.
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This recall comes as reports of captive wildlife situations continue to increase. Maryland law prohibits the possession of certain wildlife, including deer, raccoons, and foxes. To date, 82 animals have been diagnosed with rabies in the state this year.
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For this reason, residents of Maryland are advised to stay away from wildlife due to the associated risks.
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If residents encounter a sick, injured, or pest wild animal, they should:
- Maintain a safe distance and do not attempt to touch, stroke or feed the animal
- Do not “save” or move wildlife
- Contact a licensed professional to handle the situation and report the matter to the DNR / US (Department of Agriculture (USDA) wildlife hotline at 1-877-463-6497)