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Penticton  

Residents reminded to not move fawns who appear to be left alone

Don't touch the baby deer

Spring brings cute baby animals and a reminder from the BC Conservation Office Service to not touch or move fawns who look to be left alone.

“Every year in the spring time we have people that believe that they observed abandoned fawns,” said Sgt. James Zucchelli, conservation officer in the South Okanagan.

“They pick them up and take them to the SPCA or they take them to a local vet hoping that somebody can take care of these fawns. It's the worst thing these people can do.”

A mother deer is often just foraging and feeding, leaving her fawns for upwards of 24 hours.

“The best information we can pass on to people is not to handle or touch any wild animals they perceive to be abandoned.”

Instead, people are encouraged to contact the conservation service at 1-877-952-7277 and let the officers make the decision.

“In a circumstance where there's an injury or a known fatality, they know for sure they've been abandoned, we have measures we can take to try and assist the fawns and have them go to rehabilitation facilities,” Zucchelli explains.

“Leave them alone and call us, if people want advice or if they believe something has happened.”

The coming fawn season reminded a local Okanagan photographer of the time he had a doe give birth to two fawns underneath his kitchen window, sharing the photo to Facebook.

“I came home from work one day and looked out the kitchen window and mom was lying five feet outside the window. The one you see had already been born and she was lying down and very soon thereafter gave birth to the second one,” Kelly Dickinson said.

“It was interesting to watch, fascinating to witness.”

The deer family stayed in their yard for a couple months while the fawns grew up, with the doe always leaving her fawns alone.

“Mom would go off and get food and water every day, leave the little ones safely hidden in our yard,” Dickinson added, with one tucked right against their front door and one under their pine tree.

“You always know moms coming back, they're not abandoned, they are both healthy fawns...If you see them, leave them alone and just let them be.”

Zucchelli said it’s very normal for deer to be tucked in more residential areas.

“Sometimes even with what appears to be right out in the open, we've had them in municipal parks and grass areas and on lawns.”

And although every situation is different, if people do pick up a fawn, they’re often directed by conservation officers to put the deer back in the same place they found it as soon as possible and to minimize contact.

“There's a reason why she's put that animal there, the fawns there, and we don't speak deer so it's kinda tough for us to tell,” Zucchelli added, with a chuckle.

“The other thing that has happened and we've had success with in Penticton here and other urban areas is there is a chance with a fawn, if it has been abandoned by a doe, it can reunite and be adopted by other doe deer in the area.”

Even with reminders sent out to the public every year, Zucchelli said the issue persists.

“The more messaging we can get out there the better, people believe that they're helping wildlife by trying to do the right thing, thinking that they're going to save these poor animals but they're definitely doing a disservice by interfering with the natural cycles.”

Taking a fawn into your care is against the law and comes with a potential fine for unlawful possession of live wildlife.

“We do have circumstances where people have been charged.”

If you are concerned for a fawn that could be injured or orphaned or you see evidence that the parent is dead, contact the Conservation Officer Service through the (RAPP) line 1-877-952-7277.



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