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Posted: June 2, 2021

Fawns should not be touched or moved

The BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) this morning issued a reminder that if you happen upon a fawn, please leave it alone. We understand they may look lonely and defenceless but fawns should not be touched or moved.

Every year, Conservation Officers get reports of well-intentioned people trying to ‘rescue’ fawns and other young ungulates mistakenly thought to be orphaned, but these interventions do more harm than good.

Deer, elk and other species may leave their young alone for long periods. To avoid attracting predators, a mother may only return a few times a day to nurse. When she does return, she can be expected to defend her baby from real or perceived threats-including nearby humans and their pets.

Remember: It’s typical for young ungulates to lie quietly in vegetation for hours at a time, especially in the first two weeks of their lives when they’re not strong enough to follow their mothers.

Although these babies may look abandoned, they are not. However, if humans remove them from their rest spots, they can end up being orphaned.

If you see a fawn that you think may be orphaned:

  • Leave It alone – If the fawn is lying quietly and appears uninjured, it is normal for a mother deer to leave her baby alone for long periods of time.
  • Remember that the mother deer will be wary of you and is likely watching you, so your presence in the area could discourage her from returning.
  • Leave the area and keep pets away from the site.
  • If you think the fawn is not being cared for by its mother, return the next day to check on it. If it is in the exact same spot and bleating, it may be orphaned.

Taking a fawn into your care is against the law and you could be fined. Conservation Officers are reminding people that the best thing they can do to ensure a fawn’s survival is to leave the newborn deer fawns alone and leash up their dogs while out walking.

If you are concerned that a fawn is injured or orphaned, please call the RAPP line 1-877-952-7277.

Image courtesy BCCOS


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