Kids Ask the Refuge Manager

Two boys taking a photograph of a large insect. Q.    What is a national wildlife refuge?
A.   A national wildlife refuge is a special area of land or water set aside to protect wildlife and habitat - the places where animals live. National wildlife refuges are found all across the United States with at least one national wildlife refuge in every state.

Q.    Why can't I feed wildlife?
A.   When you feed any wild animal you help them to lose their fear of people. When this happens they become more dependent on people and therefore less willing to survive naturally. They also become potentially dangerous as well as a nuisance and a traffic hazard to people. Refuge animals are capable of finding plenty of food on their own. They don't need people food which is unhealthy for them anyway.

Q.    What do I do if I find a baby bird?
A.   The best thing you can do with a nestling that has fallen out of the nest is simply to put it back in the nest. Most birds have almost no sense of smell and the parents will not abandon a nest or a chick simply because it has been touched by a human. However, the parents may abandon the nest and young if you decide to revisit the nest frequently check on "your" nestling.

Q.    What is an endangered species?
A.   An endangered species is a plant or animal that is threatened with extinction. I’ll bet you didn’t know that national wildlife refuges provide habitat for over 180 threatened and endangered animal species and 78 threatened and endangered plant species. The bald eagle, our Nation’s symbol, was once endangered but recovery has been so successful that it has been down-listed as threatened.