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home : current news : current news May 24, 2016

6/18/2013 1:01:00 PM
Leave the fawns alone
They’re mighty cute — but leave ’em alone! photo by Annamarie Norman
+ click to enlarge
They’re mighty cute — but leave ’em alone! photo by Annamarie Norman

Tracy Leonhardy, wildlife rehabber for Sisters Country, with four of this season’s charges. photo by Jim Anderson
+ click to enlarge
Tracy Leonhardy, wildlife rehabber for Sisters Country, with four of this season’s charges. photo by Jim Anderson

By Jim Anderson

If you ask Tracy Leonhardy - long-time licensed Oregon wildlife rehabilitator in Sisters Country - what she's going to do with the fawns she has to care for each spring, she'll say, "Try and save them, so they can grow up wild." Then she'll quickly add, "but people shouldn't keep picking them up!"

Despite warnings, people keep taking fawns from the wild because they feel sorry for them and think they're abandoned.

If you see a fawn standing alongside a doe that's dead - killed by a motor vehicle, or by some other act of fate - then you can assume the baby needs foster care. Other than that, it's almost always best to leave the fawn where it is.

Just because a fawn is found standing alone in the backyard doesn't mean it - or they - is abandoned. The mother may have just gone to the creek for a drink, or for a moment to just, "get away from the kid."

Last year, nine mule deer fawns were picked up and dumped on Tracy; more than the year before. So far this year, Tracy has four fawns to care for, all of them victims of accidental contact with humanity. One was hit by the car that killed its mom and ended up with a broken leg, possible crushed lung and severe damage to its left eye. However, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Little Liedblad's team at Broken Top Veterinary Clinic - and Dr. Dana Bailey, who was on duty when Tracy carried the injured fawn in - everything is going to be OK for the little one.

"The first two weeks in June are the time when most fawns come in," Tracy said, "I hope this year, these four will be all I'll see."

Thanks to the easy way of living in Sisters Country - and the people who think they have to continue feeding deer - the so-called wild mule deer of this area have become so habituated to having human contact. That's one of the reasons does sometimes leave their fawns just lying about in places where humans come and go.

Unless a fawn is bleeding, hobbling about on three legs, or you can see it's mom is dead, the official word from wildlife specialists is "leave 'em alone!" And bringing one home is also against the law.

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