I enjoyed reading Catherine Minolli's column about leaving wildlife in the wild in last week's TCT.
The main reason I do photography of wildlife through our windows is to capture their natural behavior without my human influence, or at least as little as possible in this rural environment. My husband and I know that to allow or attempt to engage in a more pet like relationship would endanger the animal's survival abilities.
As many may know, I have observed and photographed the behavior of groundhogs for some time now. For someone who does
not know, in many ways the groundhog mom's behavior is similar to a doe mom. Observers may see a baby groundhog without Mom. They assume the baby is abandoned or orphaned, much like they may think a fawn has been.
Now in the case of groundhogs, it may be that they are without a Mom because someone considers them a pest and has shot the mom. In the event that is not the case, and it is not known if the mom is deceased, the babies should be left together because the mom is probably out eating, perhaps gathering leaves for the burrow or may be with her mate.
Although the full extent of the father's role is not yet fully understood, there is no doubt he continues to be a part of the family past mating season though he can be difficult to catch sight of.
This could possibly mean that if a mom dies, the father may take over care of the young to some degree. (Of course, he cannot nurse the young.)
If an animal has been orphaned or is sick, there is a really good rehabber in Fort Gratiot called Back 2 The Wild Rehab. They have a web site and Facebook page and from all appearances are well respected in what they do. They recommend people call first so that they can make a determination on a case by case basis if a baby is injured, orphaned or in need of immediate help.