Every year, well-meaning people who attempt to “rescue” newborn fawns actually destroy the lives of these wild animals. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is asking the public to leave seemingly abandoned, lost or orphaned fawns in the wild if found.
According to Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Director Chuck Sykes, does will leave fawns alone for several hours at a time during the first month or so after birth. Although this may seem neglectful, it is actually an act of protection. While the doe is feeding, the fawns avoid detection by hiding motionless in grassy areas. The doe will return to nurse the fawn several times a day.
“Only when a fawn is found injured or with a dead doe is there reason to do something,” Sykes said. “In most cases, the mother deer is nearby. Well-meaning individuals can actually be harming the fawn by removing it from its hiding place.”
Before picking up an injured or orphaned fawn, the nearest rehabber permitted to handle deer should be contacted. List of rehabilitators who are permitted by WFF.
Sykes reminds people that most wild birds and mammals, including fawns, are protected under the law and may not be legally taken from the wild or kept as pets. “Wildlife should remain where it is meant to be—in the wild.”
Fawn photo by Durward Henderson