GRAY, Maine (NECN) - Maine has more forest land than any other state in the country, so encountering wildlife at some point is a given.
It's a particular problem in May and June because that's when the forest is teaming with newborn animals.
At The Wildlife Park in Gray, Me, visiting children were fawning over the new fawns.
Those spots! Those big, brown eyes! Those soft little noses!
Asked what they would do if they encountered a fawn alone in the woods, the children answered without hesitation.
"I would take care of it," said Tiffany Smith, 8, of Lewiston.
"I would take it home," echoed Colin Zielinski,8.
But that nurturing instinct can lead to problems.
In the last two weeks, well-meaning people have delivered 4 fawns and a bull calf to The Wildlife Park.
"People don't understand that wild parents can't hire babysitters. They tell their young to stay put, but youngsters being youngsters do wander off at times," said Lisa Kane, a wildlife educator
with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlfe.
Kane says when people come upon an animal in the woods alone, they mistakenly assume it's been abandoned.
She says resist the temptation to help
"If a fawn is curled up leave it alone. If it's raining and cold and the animal looks upset, still leave it for a few hours."
It is illegal to possess wildlife in Maine without a permit. In fact, it's illegal to even handle wildlife. But there are exceptions.
If it's clear that the mother is dead or unable to care for her young, Kane says it's ok to help, ideally by calling a game warden or wildlife rehabilitator.
That's what happened when a 3 wk old calf was discovered bleeting on the side of the road in Byron, Me.
The calf would have gotten hit by a car for sure," said Kane. "People watched him for and didn't see a parent. In that case, bringing the animal here was justified." Kane same sometimes it's even more tempting to bring home small mammals, like skunks, possums raccoons.
Because of their pocket-sized cuteness, people think they'd make good pets.
"They absolutely should not be kept as pets. There are lots of communicable diseases between those animals and humans and they bite," said Kane.
She says parents should remind children and themselves, that the maternal instinct is strong and that the mother will return.
Rule of thumb, she says, if the young animal looks ok, walk away.
The park staff hopes to release the captive fawns and calf back into the wild at the end of the summer when they're strong enough to take care of themselves.