As we settle into spring there is an increased likelihood residents will come in contact with wildlife, such as raccoon, opossum, deer, skunk and coyotes, to name a few.

As we settle into spring there is an increased likelihood residents will come in contact with wildlife, such as raccoon, opossum, deer, skunk and coyotes, to name a few.

Despite the fact that we live among these several different species of wild animals, our exposure to them may be limited.

Because of their elusive ways, and our busy lives, their nature, including how they raise their young, remains a mystery to many of us.

Residents will call when they come upon young wild animals that appear to have been abandoned.

There are some species of animals that will leave their young alone for a certain period of time, and others do not.

When residents have questions, they can contact the Ohio Wildlife Center in Powell. The center's website, ohiowildlifecenter.org, is a great resource for determining if an animal really needs help, and further encourages that this is the most important question to ask before attempting to intervene.

Injured wild animals can be taken to the center's hospital, but check the website or call for additional information.

Sometimes humans are the cause of an animal's injuries. Calls about children throwing rocks at our resident geese are, unfortunately, all too common.

It's important for children to learn to respect all animals, and that means leaving them alone and giving them their space.

Keep in mind that Canada geese are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918. It is illegal to harm a goose, or to damage or move its nest and eggs.

Every now and then we'll also get a call about a coyote sighting in the city.

Callers have been under the impression that this should be reported, and/or that the animal should be captured.

Coyotes are free to roam, like all wild animals, and their sightings do not need to be reported.

Coyotes will prey on small animals, so we urge residents with cats and/or small dogs to not leave them unattended outside.

The Protect & Serve column was submitted by the Pickerington Police Department communications technicians.