|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
PRATT — Recently, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff have received numerous reports of individuals taking young fawns from the wild and either attempting to raise them or taking them to licensed wildlife rehabilitators. KDWPT reminds everyone that picking up these young animals — under any circumstances — is against the law. Both the KDWPT and the Department of Health and Environment have regulations against such activity.
Often, well-meaning Kansans see a deer fawn by itself and assume that it has been abandoned by its mother. In almost all cases, the mother is actually nearby, keeping a hidden eye on the young. If those well-meaning folks decide to "rescue" the young animal, they are usually giving it a death sentence.
The majority of fawns are born in late May and early June. However, some whitetail does may breed for the first time in late winter, so newborn fawns may be seen as late as July or even August. If found alone, these charming young animals are tempting targets for the misinformed wildlife lover.
“Wildlife kidnapping" incidents are reported each year. The young often fail to survive in captivity, and if they do, they almost always lose the instincts that allow them to survive in the wild and are thus condemned to a life in captivity.
Wild animals are better off left in the wild. They cannot legally be inoculated by veterinarians, and few people really know how to care for them. Due to the threat of chronic wasting disease, KDWPT discourages wildlife rehabilitators from accepting them. In at least one case, a “rescued” fawn infected with the disease was transported from northwestern Kansas to Hutchison.
"We encourage the public to leave fawns in the wild," said Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator for KDWPT. "As we all know, in many cases, lone fawns are seldom 'orphaned'. The mother is usually nearby but out of sight, keeping watch. The risk of spreading such a dangerous disease should override the emotion of wanting to 'save' a fawn."
If you see young animals in the wild this spring or summer, consider yourself lucky to have seen them. But remember, their mother is most likely watching nearby. Leave them in the wild world where they were born and where they belong.