Let Wildlife (Even Cute Fawns) Fend For Themselves, Colorado Parks And Wildlife Pleads

July 20, 2019

Mountain goats are better off without a sightseer’s food, and fawns left alone on your lawn likely aren’t abandoned.

But state wildlife officials have noted that well-meaning human interactions with wild animals are causing problems.

Earlier this month Colorado Parks and Wildlife rescued a young deer that a Colorado family kept in their home, which is illegal. 

"They don’t realize that that’s their natural defense is to lay there and be pretty camouflaged. The mom, the doe, will leave them for up to 12 hours easily," CPW officer Cody Wigner said. 

He encouraged people to call CPW if they are concerned about fawns or other young wildlife, not to move it. 

The agency is also concerned about increasingly social mountain goats and bighorn sheep on Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the highest paved road in the United States.

These animals are putting their heads inside cars, walking up to people and tolerating sightseers approaching them to take photographs.

“Those mountain goats have become very habituated to people,” Wigner said. “Unfortunately they learned some bad behavior from people providing food to them.”

That’s dangerous for people, Wigner said, because it increases the risk of a mountain goat attacking a visitor. It’s also dangerous for the goats. Their digestive systems are not adapted to eating human food.

CPW is discouraging the animals from approaching people by hazing them.

“Hazing could be anything from just simply yelling and chasing it off, throwing rocks," Wigner said. “It could go all the way up to using rubber bullets ... It’s really not going to hurt them, just a little bit of a sting just to let them know that people aren’t good.”

From birds to bears to moose, CPW is urging people to keep their distance.

“Keep them wild,” Wigner said. “View them in their natural state. Don’t try to alter their behaviors.”