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Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania
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Taking young animals and birds home is a crime against nature


Each spring environmentalists have to decide what to do with young wild animals and birds that people take home from nature as they think them to be orphans and in need of care. Dozens of moose and deer calves, young hares and birds are taken this way. Almost all of them are found to be healthy and under their parents’ care, so the collection of each individual means great damage to nature.

Young animals and birds are orphaned very rarely. A reindeer, moose or deer calf found in a meadow or forest normally is not alone. Sensing an approaching human, the mother withdraws and the little and weak calf crouches in the lair. The principles of the human world do not work in nature, and empathy is even harmful in this case. It is important to go away as soon as possible and leave the calf to its mother. The same applies to young birds: after leaving the nest, they often cannot fly properly yet and they hide in the grass or among braches and wait for the parents returning with food. Owlets crawl out of a tree hollow or nest box while still covered with down, with the wing feathers just beginning to come out, as staying long in the nest is dangerous and this is the only escape for owlets from death brought by martens.

Although the Law on Wildlife and other legal acts contain a strict prohibition on the collection of young animals from nature, people too often ignore this. If the news of an animal taken home is not made public immediately, returning the young one to its parents becomes impossible. A baby animal kept at home cannot grow up healthy and it needs a long period of adaptation to return to nature. Some of the animals brought up by people are simply lost for nature.

The Ministry of Environment reminds everyone that all wildlife in Lithuania is the property of the state. Taking animals from nature without a permit is only allowed where the animal or bird is injured or ailing. The care needed is confirmed by veterinarians or specialists of animal care services.
All illegally collected animals may be subject to confiscation. Any illegal collection entails administrative liability. If an animal dies through the fault of the person who has taken it, damage to nature will be estimated.

Communication Division

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas