During this season of new growth, a fawn tottering along behind its mother isn’t an uncommon sight anywhere on Vancouver Island.
Neither is the tiniest of baby deer tucked away in quiet corners of yards and gardens.
“The mother only feeds them a couple times in a 24-hour period so she will park them in one spot and then come back to feed them,” said Wallis Moore Reid, senior wildlife rehabilitator at the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC).
The Metchosin rehab centre had 16 fawns come into care in May, with four more in the first four days of June.
Unfortunately a few were in critical condition – newborns left alone too long or young ones hit by cars that couldn’t be helped – but the majority are in care and thriving.
All 20 were in actual need of help and that’s not always the case when a fawn comes in courtesy a well-meaning citizen.
For the first couple weeks of its life, the newest of deer are too weak to keep up. If it’s quiet and peaceful, the fawn is likely simply resting and awaiting its next meal.
Distress indicators include being in the same location longer than 24 hours and being mobile and crying. However, the latter could also be a response to a human approaching, so initial impressions are key.
Anyone not sure can call Wild ARC at 1-855-622-7722 or the provincial call centre at 1-855-622-7722.
“Don’t just pick up a fawn because it’s alone. It’s normal for them to be alone,” Moore Reid said.
Fawning season runs May through early July. It is important for pet owners to keep dogs on leash and for drivers to be wary when they see a deer, watching for followers.
Wild ARC welcomes donations for the extra mouths to feed and young to teach. The fawns in care could use some greenery, and an unusual training aid.
“We’re always looking for more browse, and deer love any kind of deciduous branches besides maples,” Moore Reid said. They’re open to picking up from residences in Metchosin, and grateful for anyone who might drop off usable greenery at 1020 Malloch Rd.
There’s also a bin there to collect other donations, with facecloths in demand during fawn season. They’re used to stimulate the fawns to urinate and defecate when they’re really young.
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