Oh Dear – Seeing With Fresh Eyes

deer“I think many of us were brought up to believe if we handled fawns, the mother deer would reject it because of the human scent,” said Carol Kelly, Executive Director of Medicine River Wildlife Centre(MRWC). It turns out this is an old wives tale. Deer will accept a fawn that has been handled by humans; sometimes they will even foster an orphaned fawn!

The Medicine River wildlife Center has been reuniting orphan fawns with foster moms for several years. The procedure started when someone looked at the situation with fresh eyes. An acreage owner found an orphan fawn on her property. While discussing rescue options with MRWC she observed a doe come from another part of the property and allow the orphan to nurse. Not sure if they could believe what had been observed, Kelly brought another orphan from several kilometers away a few weeks later and watched as this fawn was also adopted by a lactating doe.

Kelly and her staff are now proficient at introducing orphans and mother deer. Staff play the call of an orphaned fawn to attract lactating does; they can tell by the reaction which are open to fostering. “It seems to be the older does that already have one, two or even three fawns already,” Carol says. Hard to believe a mom would want a fourth baby around, but MRWC has been radio tagging orphans to track survival rates and it appears that the 30 to 40 fawns fostered each year have as good a chance of surviving as deer that have not been orphaned.

Because someone saw a situation as it was, rather than what the experts described, wildlife rehabilitators are saving more animals with a fraction of the resources. To see a orphan find a new mom watch the video at http://youtu.be/4vy3hvQy4fo

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