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DNR steps on toes with partnership

Published May. 13, 2010 | Discuss this article on Facebook

Paul Smith | Outdoors Editor | May 12, 2010

Spring has sprung and the 2010 class of wild ones is appearing on the Wisconsin landscape.

As it has for years, the Department of Natural Resources is reminding state residents not to pick up young wildlife, such as fawns and bunnies.

The animals may appear to be orphaned, but they are most often just fine, with a doe (the word for female deer and rabbits) nearby.

And if uninjured, they always fare better outdoors than when taken in by a human. We tend to provide inadequate or even toxic food, to say nothing of the implications of a wild animal imprinted on humans.

You've likely heard the message before, but you've never heard it like this: To spread the word this year, the DNR has partnered with a frequent opponent on hunting and wildlife management issues - the Humane Society of the United States.

The DNR and the HSUS have teamed to produce and buy air time across the state for a pair of 30-second radio spots.

The pieces began airing Monday and are planned to run through June 13. One is titled "Don't Bother Wildlife in the Wild," the other "Wildlife Are Not Pets."

The spots feature a young female voice which asks the public to respect the wild nature of wildlife. If an animal is truly injured or orphaned, have an adult contact the DNR, she instructs.

But it's the partnership, not the message, that's drawing the most attention.

"My initial reaction was shock and disbelief," said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and former DNR secretary. "If I hadn't seen it on the DNR's Web site, I would have thought it was a hoax."

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