Make the Right Call: Don’t Touch “Orphaned” Wildlife
- ADF&G Press Release

Sam Cotten, Commissioner
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, Alaska 99811-5526

Press Release: May 18, 2015

Area Contacts:
(Southcentral) Ken Marsh, 267-2892
(Interior) Cathie Harms, 459-7231
(Southeast) Riley Woodford, 465-4256

Make the Right Call: Don’t Touch “Orphaned” Wildlife

(Statewide) — Alaskans are reminded that May and June mark the season of wildlife giving birth. 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 newborn wildlife and to not assume young animals found alone are orphaned. Keep pets under voice control or leashed if you encounter wildlife as loose dogs can cause wildlife to feel threatened and act aggressively.

Mother moose and bears frequently walk out of sight from their young, cache them, or become separated from by fences or roads. Sow 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 back away 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; this type of contact with animals is illegal and may result in a fine.

If you observe a young animal that appears to have been left alone for an extended period of time, do not pick it up. Call the nearest Alaska Department of Fish and Game office; if the situation involves an immediate public safety concern, contact the Alaska State Troopers. For more information, visit