Spring has officially sprung in the Foothills now, the warmer weather has decided to make an appearance. 

But it's not just the warmer climate that comes with the new season. Residents will, of course, start to see an influx of wildlife's young. 

Baby hares are one of the more prominent animals seen in Southern Alberta at this time and in most cases seen alone and what people may think as "vulnerable."

Community Engagement Manager with Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation, Katrina Terrill, reminds people that this is not a red flag.

"The mother hares will leave their baby hares alone on purpose. So if you see a baby hare by itself, it's perfectly normal, we don't have to panic, we don't have to try and take that baby hare home to raise it. They can actually be left right where you find them."

Baby hares are often left on their own for about six to twelve hours at a time until their mother returns to feed and only drink milk from their mother for a very short period, starting to forage independently around the one-month mark of life.

It's important not to move/touch the young animals for a couple of reasons: if moved from where they are left by the mother, when she returns and can't find them she will assume something has got them and leave the area for good. Hares are also born without a scent, so predators, such as foxes and coyotes, can't hunt the hares by smell when alone.

Terrill understands that it can be tough to leave them to fend for themselves against land and even avian predators but reminds people it's a part of the wildlife animal kingdom.

"I know it's really distressing to see, you know, predatory birds going after some of these baby rabbits...so if you do feel like you really want to help these babies and you can't just leave it alone what you can do is put on a pair of gloves and gently move the baby rabbit into a nearby bush and that's going to protect them from most." 

At the end of the day, Terrell says, the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation, just wants to advise people to contact them before taking action.

"It's always good to give us a call before you interfere with wildlife or you touch wildlife in any way. Often times as we've said there are lots of things people don't know so call for advice before you do anything, that'd be my biggest request." 

The Institute can be reached at 403-946-2361 and in case of an emergency, if a small animal is obviously injured, residents can put the animal in a box and take it to SAVE Veterinary Clinic in Okotoks, where animals are looked after for AIWC, free of cost, until the next day. 

Send us your news tips, story ideas and comments at news@okotoksonline.com