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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

Newborn wildlife needs distance

Courtesy of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

Young and newborn wildlife often attract the attention of well-meaning citizens. Wildlife agencies and local nonprofits are reminding people to keep their distance.

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) gets dozens of calls every spring from concerned wildlife lovers who have found what seem to be abandoned baby birds. Often the parents remain nearby. Eliza Burlingame, marketing director for ACES, said the best course of action is to leave the young animals alone.

“At that stage of a bird’s life, they really need their parent to be able to succeed, learn how to hunt, learn how to fly,” she said.

ACES does have a permit to rehabilitate birds of prey, but Burlingame said there isn’t much the nonprofit can do to help young wildlife.  

The state agency Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has some resources to handle injured wildlife. Officials stress the importance of keeping distance from young wild animals.

To protect them from predators, newborn mammals don’t have a scent. When humans touch them, it leaves behind a foreign scent that adult animals may not recognize, which can endanger the young. If a newborn appears to be abandoned for more than 24 hours, CPW officials recommend calling the agency, but do not touch the animal.

Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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