Deer fawns are being born this time of year and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asks that people avoid disturbing or touching them.
Most fawns are born in mid-May to mid-June, and fawns do not attempt to evade predators during their first few weeks of life. Instead, they remain still to avoid being seen.
During these times, fawns are learning critical survival skills from their mothers but are often left on their own while their mothers are foraging nearby. Be assured deer fawns are fine even if they look abandoned or fragile.
What to do if you find an orphaned wild animal:
Examine the situation carefully. Is the animal really orphaned? Many animal species will leave their young unattended for long periods of time (several hours). Often letting some time pass will reveal that the parents have returned after a short foray to gather food or other important materials.
Fawns should be left where they are found, in most cases, the mother deer (doe) will be nearby, even if she is out of sight. Baby deer may be left alone for as long as three days. A doe with fawns may be aggressively protective - stay away from them for your own safety, and keep your pets away, too.
Suffering wildlife is difficult to observe. Consider that rarely does an animal carcass go to waste. Many species of wildlife rely on sick or injured animals to feed themselves and their young.
If you are certain an animal is orphaned, contact a local rehabilitation center or licensed professional before attempting to handle the animal. Wildlife rehabilitators will be able to give you the best advice on what to do and what not to do with a sick or injured animal.
Sick or injured wild animals may bite and scratch and pose a risk to humans (physical injury and/or exposure to disease). Use caution and never put yourself in a situation that you are uncomfortable with. When contracting local rehabilitation services, record the location or address of where the animal was found.
Wildlife rehabilitators will need to know where to rescue the animal and where to return it to once it has recovered and can be released back to the wild. A good phrase to keep in mind is, "If you care, leave it there" before you decide to initiate rescue of an injured animal.
An unlicensed citizen may not attempt to rehabilitate an animal on their own. It is also unlawful to possess or transport injured wildlife for greater than 24 hours unless permitted to do so.
Citizens should volunteer or partner with rehabilitation permit holders in order to transport orphaned, sick or injured wild animals. The DNR does not have the staff or resources to respond to every injured or distressed wildlife report. The public is encouraged to contact local rehabilitation clinics or rehab professionals, or let nature take its course.
Learn more on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.
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