Officials warn people not to keep abandoned baby deer

Officials are seeing a problem where people are trying to keep abandoned baby deer

Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center, Inc. photo

BRADENTON BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – A rehabilitation center rescued a fawn in Sarasota Thursday. The fawn had been chased by a dog and separate from its mother. On Friday the rescue group shared the story as an important reminder: Deer are not pets.

A Sarasota family spotted the cute fawn lounging in front of a screen door earlier this week. When a team from Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center arrived, the fawn was scared.

“It made a little cry when we first picked it up. It was curled up there in front of somebody’s screen door, it wasn’t really a very good hiding place,” Ed Straight told News Channel 8.

Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center, Inc. photo
Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center, Inc. photo

The 1-week-old baby would’ve died without the care of its mom, so the Wildlife rescue organization took it in. He’s the first baby deer rescued by the group this year, but more will likely be coming. Fawns are born around April and May and each spring Wildlife receives around 10 orphaned deer.

“Quite often the mother gets hit by a car and killed,” Straight said.

Fawn can be very loving and easy going around humans – and that’s a problem. Rescue workers have seen people try to keep orphaned deer as pets.

“Not only is that against the law but it’s very dangerous for the baby,” Straight said.

Officials say you could face a $500 fine for keeping a deer as a pet.

Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center, Inc. photo
Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center, Inc. photo

Orphaned fawns need experts to teach them how to drink from a bottle. You can’t just feed them with regular milk – that could kill them.

“It has happened here that somebody kept a fawn too long and by the time we get it, it’s beyond us helping it, its already gone downhill too far,” Straight said.

In addition, when deer become adults, they can be very territorial. They may harm themselves in an enclosed environment.

If you spot an abandoned baby deer this spring, call wildlife officials. Straight said mother deer will sometimes hide their fawn next to a bush for a day and then come back later.

As for the recently recovered fawn, he’s in good hands. He’ll be at Wildlife for about six weeks and will then go to a bigger location with room to roam. In September, when he’s big enough, he’ll bet set free at a Lakeland preserve.





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