Utah DWR reminds public not to illegally keep wildlife

Courtesy of: Utah DWR

VERNAL, Utah, June 21, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) – The Utah Division of Wildlife is reminding residents not to illegally keep wildlife.

“The Utah DWR recently received several reports statewide of people bringing home newborn fawns and baby raccoons, and would like to remind the public of the dangers and legalities of trying to keep a wild animal as a pet, ”a statement said.

It is illegal to hold any protected wildlife in captivity in Utah, the statement said. Protected wildlife includes a variety of species, including those you can hunt, such as deer, cottontail rabbits, several species of birds, bears, cougars, and others. The DWR oversees the management of these species statewide.

Some wild animals are not protected by Utah state law, which means you do not need to have a valid hunting or trapping license to harvest them, the press release added. However, there are different rules for keeping one in your possession.

Wild animals, such as raccoons, which are not native to Utah, and coyotes, need a permit to house them in captivity. The importation, distribution, relocation, captive keeping or possession of live coyotes and raccoons in Utah is regulated by the Agriculture and Wildlife Damage Prevention Council and is prohibited under of Utah Code, except as permit by the State Veterinarian’s Office at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

Unauthorized animals can be seized immediately by the DWR, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and Food, animal control officers or law enforcement officers if the person possessing the animal does not. cannot produce a valid permit for each individual animal.

The following wild animals are considered unprotected wild animals in the state of Utah:

  • Raccoons
  • Striped skunks
  • Coyotes
  • Ground squirrels
  • waffles
  • Jack rabbits
  • Muskrats
  • Mulots

You may receive a citation for illegal possession of these animals, which is a Class B offense.

“It is important to protect the health, welfare and safety of the public, as well as of wildlife,” said DWR Law Enforcement Captain Wyatt Bubak. “These animals are wild and should be treated as such, even when they are babies.”

There are also several species of reptiles illegal to stay in Utah without the proper permits, which are granted by the DWR. Visit the DWR website to learn more about this process.

Illness and other safety concerns

Diseases, viruses and parasites of unprotected and protected wild animals can be transmitted to humans and pets through saliva, feces or urine, the statement said. Viral diseases of raccoons include rabies, canine distemper, raccoon parvoviral enteritis, canine infectious hepatitis, and pseudorabies. Raccoons can also carry and transmit leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis, which can be fatal to unborn babies.

Raccoons can also be infected with the Baylisascaris roundworm, a parasite. Raccoons rarely show symptoms of these roundworms and can pass them on to humans and other animals through their feces. This parasite can cause extreme damage to the human eye, organs and brain.

Fawn and other large game may appear harmless at birth, but they can become aggressive as they age, especially around dogs and during breeding seasons, the release said. Whenever wildlife gets used to humans, it can lead to dangerous situations for animals and the public.

What to do if you come across a wild baby animal?

Typically, when people encounter a baby animal in the wild that they think has been abandoned, its mother is actually nearby. The DWR recommends that you leave the animal where you found it and not touch it. If you have any concerns or if the animal appears sick or injured, you can contact the nearest DWR Office.

For more tips on how to live safely with wildlife, visit Wild Aware Utah website.

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