Thursday, April 26, 2007

Leave the babies alone

A note from the DOW - Colorado's Division of Wildlife - reminds to leave young animals alone when you see them along the trail, in your yard, wherever.

A Greater Sandhill Crane that has been raised on a ranch near Nucla will be held by the DOW and, likely, shipped to a zoo.

The crane was a chick when found on a ranch 3 years ago. Thinking it had been abandoned, a rancher took it home, fed it cat food and treated it like a pet. Later, the rancher became ill and friends took the bird to an area where sandhill cranes gather during their migration north for summer. The bird wanted no part of its free-roaming cousins. Trainers at the Schneegas Wildlife Foundation saw quickly that the bird couldn't be retrained.

There's little that can be done with the crane, which is why DOW asks people not to mess with wildlife.

"Adult animals often leave their young ones to go off to feed or to distract predators," said DOW's Tony Gurzick. "Young animals are well camouflaged and learn their own survival skills when left on their own. We know people are well-intentioned, but the animal's best chance of surviving is if it's left alone."

In the wild sandhill cranes can live for 20 years. That's a long time for a crane to live in a zoo, too.

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