Don’t touch that fawn!

  • Apr. 29, 2013 8:00 a.m.

With fawning season underway, biologists remind us that fawns should not to be touched or moved when encountered. If you find a newborn alone, you might believe it has been abandoned, but this is not likely. Fawns are often left by their mothers for their own safety, because the newborns have a lack of scent that protects them from predators. The mothers return a few times a day to nurse the fawns and, if necessary, will attack pets or humans to defend her offspring. Removing these apparently abandoned newborns can be a serious problem, because once removed, they have no maternal care and their chances of survival are far less than if they’d been raised by their mother. The best thing to do is to leave the fawn alone. Come back the next day, and if it’s in the exact same spot, it may be injured or orphaned. Then, contacting a wildlife officer or a Parks official is the best thing to do. This doesn’t apply to just deer; many mammals leave their young alone for long periods of time and feed them at regular intervals. So, if you encounter a newborn in the wild during this season, appreciate the experience, but don’t approach or intervene.Quick facts If you find a fawn or calf you think may be orphaned, here’s what to do: * If it’s lying quietly, leave it alone and leave the area. Your presence will discourage the mother from returning. * Keep children and dogs away from the area. * If you think the fawn is not being cared for by its mother, return the next day to check. If it is in the exact same spot, it may be injured or orphaned. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, but do not touch or move the animal. * Do not touch or feed the animal.