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OH DEER: Locals reminded to leave fawns alone

It’s that time of year… With the spring season comes more baby animals, and more reminders from wildlife experts.

MARS Wildlife Centre rehabilitation manager Kiersten Shyian says “we’re trying to make sure people know it’s normal this time of year to see fawns curled up and alone.”

She says most times, the mom will be back at dawn or dusk: “So if seeing fawns, make sure you don’t touch them and don’t approach them… unless they have an injury.”

According to Shyian, the mom doesn’t want to leave her scent on her babies, so she’ll actually keep away for most of the time. She says a mom’s scent can attract predators.

But it’s not just the mother’s scent… if handling a baby fawn, Shyian says a human’s scent can be transferred to it as well.

With this in mind, she says “we really just want to make sure that people aren’t kidnapping or interfering with healthy fawns in any way, because then obviously we get more than we should, but we’re also taking it away from the mom and the wild.”

Shyian’s now asking you don’t approach or touch a fawn without calling your local Wildlife Centre first, “because we often get a lot of kidnapped babies that are just fine and should be left where they are.”

She’s also sending out some reminders to drivers, “especially around dawn and dusk.”

“We want to make sure that everyone is driving with caution. Often babies will follow the mom across the road, so you want to be aware of your surroundings and remember that there are babies this time.”

And with sightings of fawns, comes sightings of sickly deer too. Shyian is now urging locals to never feed sick deer.

“There is actually a disease going around, especially on the island and more of the northern Gulf Islands actually, called adenovirus hemorrhagic disease,” she explains. “That can definitely cause things like diarrhea, seizures, and foaming from the mouth.”

“We don’t want to be feeding these animals, that could obviously make things worse for them. If you see any deer with those kinds of symptoms, we want to be reporting those to the Provincial Wildlife Health Lab. But also just in general, if you’ve got deer with diarrhea on your property, people always tend to want to give them water.”

While she says water’s fine, there are things that should be avoided, like apples. She says apples “are actually not great for deer,” because they can cause severe diarrhea.

“Overall, it’s better to not feed wildlife,” Shyian adds.

If you’re concerned about a fawn that could be injured, get in touch with Conservation Officer Service through its RAPP line at 1 (877) 952-7277, or call your local Wildlife Centre.

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