SALEM TOWNSHIP, WAYNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The search for missing monkeys following a crash in Montour County last week, led to several groups going out and looking for the primates.

Unexpected run-ins with wildlife are somewhat common for those visiting and exploring the Poconos. But knowing what to do in that moment is key for both the person and animal’s safety.

“You know I was walking my dog one time and we came across a coyote. He literally just stared at us and took off,” Claws ‘n’ Paws Animal Park zookeeper Carina Fabbricatore said.

She says interaction between humans and wildlife animals could lead to a dangerous situation.

“Lots of times you don’t want to approach an animal that’s injured or wild because they can hurt you and you can also, if you try to help them, do the wrong thing and hurt the animal,” Fabbricatore said.

She explained feeding any kind of animal, such as a deer, could negatively impact them.

“The more times that humans come in contact with wild animals, it makes that animal less wild, less able to take care of itself, less afraid of humans, therefore they’re going to start approaching humans more and that’s why it’s important to not feed wildlife,” Fabbricatore said.

If you think an animal is in distress, Fabbricatore says to leave it to the professionals and call your local wildlife rehab center.

“It’s really just important to let the wild animals be wild. The more times people come in contact with them, the more it’s going to hurt the animal in the long run,” Fabbricatore said.

In many cases, wild animal encounters do not escalate. But the animal park experts say to use common sense and handle the situation with caution.