DARLING DEER: April brings the start of baby season in the qathet region, and PROWLS has already taken a call about an “abandoned” fawn.
It is alarming to see a tiny newborn fawn curled up on the cold ground in the rain, all alone. Dainty and vulnerable, it seems impossible that it is not abandoned, at least, if not orphaned. Deer, however, have raised their young this way forever.
After giving birth and staying with the newborn for a couple of hours, the doe leaves it in what she thinks is a safe place, while she goes out to forage and produce the milk she needs to feed her baby. The fawn will stay curled up, camouflaged and quiet, until its mother returns. It will occasionally stand and stretch its legs, then lie down again and sleep.
The doe can stay away for up to 24 hours. When she returns, she gets her baby up and nursing, then moves it around a bit, then goes off again. With each passing day, the fawn is stronger, and soon trots along behind its mother, learning which plants are good for foraging and to eat on its own.
When we interfere, the mother loses her baby, which is very traumatic for the doe, and the fawn loses the mother that would teach it what it needs to know. The best of human care is a poor substitute, so leave the fawn alone.