Don't touch baby wild animals, no matter how cute they might be

If you come across an adorable baby animal that seems to have been abandoned by its mother, steer clear.

With wildlife birthing season in full swing, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reminded people Friday that young animals that may appear orphaned sometimes are not — and their mothers may be hovering nearby. Nearly always, the moms return to their young.

During May and June, newborn moose calves, bear cubs and other wildlife could show up anywhere, including yards, city greenbelts, popular trails -- even schools.

"Even when young animals truly are orphaned, it's best to leave them alone," the department said in a news release. Trying to feed or pick up a wild animal is illegal and could result in a fine.

If you see an animal that seems to have been left alone for a long time, contact the nearest Fish and Game office -- or, in case of a public safety concern, Alaska State Troopers.

The state is already receiving reports of newborn moose calves. Meanwhile, bears have been spotted with cubs.

With newborns in tow, cow moose can be "particularly dangerous" this time of year, the department said, "and attacks on people and pets by mothers aggressively defending calves are reported each spring."

Right now, it's best to give moose plenty of space and to avoid single-track and bushy trails where you might not be able to see a mother and baby. If you come across a moose calf or bear cub and can't see the mother, the best thing to do is back away and leave in the direction from which you came.