The story of a fawn that has made its way from a Maple Ridge backyard to Langley’s Critter Care Wildlife Society shelter is a cautionary tale for people interacting with wild deer in B.C., say B.C. Conservation officials.
The deer was found by a Maple Ridge resident in his back yard the week of June 11, according to Alicia Stark, a BC Conservation officer.
Knowing there were bears around, the man was worried they would attack and kill the animal. He picked up the fawn and put it into his dog run, hoping that the mother would come back and find it within a few hours.
When the mother deer didn’t show up, he called the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line to contact the Conservation Service.
“Every year, we do have a bit of an issue with people taking fawns,” said Stark.
Fawns are often left alone by their mothers for several hours, while the does go off to forage alone. Often, people assume the fawns are orphaned and pick them up, move them, and try to take care of them, but this can separate them permanently from their mothers.
This person was trying to protect the fawn, Stark said.
“His heart was in the right place.”
There are worse reasons for the same behaviour.
“He wasn’t intending to keep it as a pet or anything,” Stark said. Every year in B.C., Conservation officers find at least one person who has carried off a fawn with the intent of keeping it as a pet.
Attempting to capture wildlife and possession of wildlife are offences under B.C.’s Wildlife Act.
In this case, Stark said the man was not issued a ticket because he was trying to do the right thing and he contacted B.C. Conservation fairly quickly.
This kind of incident happens far too often, said Critter Care’s Brandon Dean.
“Fawns are probably the number one animal that comes into care, every year, even when they shouldn’t,” he said.
Critter Care is currently running a contest to name four of its 10 new fawns, including the one taken from a Maple Ridge back yard.
The other three had mothers who were hit by cars, but incidents in which people assume a fawn by itself must be orphaned result in too many animals being taken out of the wilderness by well-meaning people, said Dean.
Like the Conservation Service, Dean recommends people call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) if they find apparently orphaned wildlife.
If a fawn is just laying alone in the grass, there’s a high likelihood the mother will come back, Dean said.
Critter Care takes in orphaned and injured wildlife with the aim or rehabilitation and returning the animals to the wild.
If you’re interested in naming one of the new fawns, you can visit crittercarewildlife.org/name-that-fawn. The winner will get a sponsorship certificate and a plush deer head magnet. The contest closes on June 30th at midnight.
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