Below is a Facebook post from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD).
A mother elk left her youngster on this doorstep at a Pine, Arizona, residence. The surprised homeowners did the right thing and left it there, undisturbed. They called AZGFD for advice, thinking that the calf was abandoned or injured, and learned that it was perfectly fine. Although calves are usually left in a more natural setting such as a grassy meadow, the responding AZGFD Officer jokes, “Mom left it there for ‘daycare’ in the early morning, and came back to pick it up after lunch.”
While this story has a happy ending, this spring AZGFD has responded to several situations in northern Arizona where residents had already removed elk calves from where their parents left them bedded down for the day while they foraged for food. It is usually difficult to reunite them with their parents in these cases. In addition, a cow elk watching from a distance may become aggressive when defending her young, which can quickly put those with good intentions in danger.
AZGFD urges Arizonans to leave baby wildlife – including elk calves – alone. If you encounter an animal that appears to be sick or injured, is unresponsive or lethargic, please contact your nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility or call your local AZGFD office first.
(Photo credit: Arizona Game and Fish Department)