MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the time of year when you notice baby robins, baby bunnies and even the occasional fawn in your back yard.

Homeowners like to protect and care for these animals, but this year they may be caring a little too much. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville said they are having a record year, but many of the animals being brought in should stay in the wild.

“It’s been exceptionally busy,” said veterinarian Renee Schott. “I think right now we are over 1,500 where we were last year at this time.”

But Schott says many of the animals shouldn’t be there.

“They are going to have a much better chance with mom than any rehabilitator,” said Schott.

Executive Director Phil Jenni says the Center is getting more than 100 new patients every day.

“We are a veterinary hospital,” Jenni said. “So what we really want to do is care for the injured and sick and truly orphaned animals.”

Jenni said people see baby animals alone in their backyard, assume they’re orphaned and bring them in. But in the case of bunnies, moms often leave the nest so they don’t attract predators to their young.

Fledglings may look helpless, but they spend five to 10 days on the ground learning how to hunt for food. Fawns are often found alone because they can’t keep up with their mothers while they forage, but that doesn’t mean they’re abandoned.

Jenni says his staff is good, but nature is even better.

“Nature and these animals is so majestic and awe-inspiring that the best thing to do is just watch it unfold. You don’t need to go out and help unless it really needs help,” said Jenni.

Jenni said that the goal with every animal that’s brought in is to rehab them and release them into the wild. They also rely on donations from the public — click here if you’d like to donate.

John Lauritsen

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