Second Chance for Orphaned Fawns
As warmer weather is approaching, we start to prepare for the influx of infant wildlife. Many of these orphans found by members of the public have been unknowingly kidnapped from their natural parents and can be placed back into their natural habitat. Educating the public on the natural history of infant wildlife can reduce the number of animals brought to wildlife rehabilitation centres and Conservation Offices. Baby fawns are one of those species that can tug on a person’s heart strings. Unfortunately the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre cannot rehabilitate these animals which can cause some people to be upset.
There may however, be a possibility of reuniting fawns back into the wild. The Medicine River Wildlife Centre (MRWC) in Alberta has developed a foster program in which the fawn can be fostered out to new mothers in the area. MWRC has successfully fostered over 60 fawns and 36 of those were last year. Using a “Preymaster Wireless Digital Caller” device, and the recording of a distressed fawn, will bring out mothers wanting to adopt another fawn. As long as the fawn is in good health, with no signs of injury or dehydration, and hasen’t been with humans for very long, these young orphans can be placed back into the wild in a matter of 30 seconds to a minute.
Locating a Foster Parent
First, paint the fawn’s ear with a cattle marker (blue, purple, red, etc) and make a note of it. It’s best to utilize the land owners to monitor the situation, this, having the fawn marked will help with identification. If markers are not available, another method for identification would be to shave a small area on the hind quarters. If the marked fawn is found wandering alone after a foster attempt, this could indicate that it wasn’t a match.
Take the fawn to the original location of where it was found. Place it in the field with the “digital predator call” devise beside the animal. Play a recording of a distressed fawn and a mother should appear within 30 seconds to 3 minutes. If you see the doe snorting, she is willing to accept the fawn The fawn should see the doe run to her. It may take a few minutes for the fawn to understand her call. Always remain quiet to not disturb the reunion. It doesn’t have to be the original mother. Does that have lost one or more babies in the spring still have the urge to care for an infant.
If you do not see a doe snorting or visible within 3 minutes of playing the recording, take the fawn and device to another location. Look for areas with an open field by a forested edge. Knowing where there are other deer can help you quickly reunite a fawn with a mother.
The “Preymaster Digital Caller” is available at the SIR store for $259.99 and includes a White-tailed fawn distress call. Other orphaned wildlife can be fostered by other parents such as fox kits, skunks, raptors and more.