Warning as human kindness kills baby deer in ‘honest mistake’

A member of the public discovered the baby animal lying in the grass and took him home, exposing him to more stress than his young life could handle. Branding the incident an “honest mistake”, experts at Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital are warning this is a common occurance and sadly happens on a yearly basis. 

According to Wiltshire Live, the experts say that, given a little more time, the doe would have retrieved him and “he would still be alive.” The fawn was driven to their home and given goats milk in an attempt to feed him, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia if done incorrectly. Unless fawns are starving, they never feed readily, according to experts.

After realising they had perhaps taken on too much, the member of the public contacted the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital for help nearly 24 hours later.

A spokesperson for the hospital said: “Then, another journey from ourselves would have been enough to send his stress levels to a dangerous state. As the fawn arrived at the Wildlife Hospital he was already closing down. Please share again and again to get the message across.

“If there is a genuine concern about a fawn, we will always talk through what you have come across and hopefully avoid this scenario.”

The team urges no unkind words to be said as, the error in judgement was “meant well,” and urges that this guidance be shared as “education is the way forward.” A matter of days before, the Wiltshire Wildlife hospital had shared a post titled “Hands off Bambie” with guidance on how to react if you come across a baby deer. The team believes that perhaps had it circulated more, this could have been avoided.

What to do if you find a baby fawn

The warning urged members of the public who come across a baby deer laying in the grass, curled round and quite still should leave it alone, as the doe will likely not be far away, but if the baby is tainted with a human sent, then she will abandon it.

However, if the fawn is ‘vocal,’ – their distress call is a high pitch squeak, then the chances are it is in trouble and will probably need rescuing, but the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital, urge they be contacted so the response can be discussed beforehand. It is very important to keep your dog on a lead at all times when walking in areas where deer are known to reside. A dog attack on a deer is very distressing, “can you imagine the impact on a young fawn and mother,” a spokesperson said.

Bright-eyed fawns full of promise

They added: “This time of year quite possibly for me, brings the most heartache. We take in these little fawn’s, some genuinely need to come in, then there are the ones who get picked up because they look so vulnerable in the grass on their own. So in they come, too late to be put back, although over the years we have managed to reunite some with the doe, but it does entail a certain amount of risk.

“They get taken home perhaps wrapped in a dog blanket, petted by all and sundry, given ‘baby formula milk’ then they call you, because they don’t know what to do next. These ones really don’t want you to feed them especially the two to three week olds, they want their real ‘mum’, they will stress, fight, scream to tell you in no uncertain terms to leave them alone.

“In between attempting to feed them they will call and call and call, a pitiful sound that pulls so hard at your heart strings you think they are going to break. Attempts to feed turn into hopeless frustration, because this baby now refuses point blank to suckle, you avoid turning it into a stressful battle, after a few days the little bright eyed fawn full of promise which should have been left where it has now ‘given up’ the eyes tell you that and you cry ‘ buckets’ but you feel angry at the same time!”

After posting a warning on Facebook about the incident, members of the public expressed their frustration, and heartbreak, at the situation. Many comments remarked on how they felt igorance was to blame. One user wrote: “Poor dear creature! Idiotic behaviour cost him his life 

Other comments included: “This makes me so cross. Always ring the hospital for advice. It takes a minute. Poor little thing and then to keep it another 24 hours before contacting. Unnecessary waste of life.”

“That’s so so sad, not only the fawn but the poor mother must be beside herself and because of human interference all so unnecessary 

“This infuriates me!! When will humans stop interfering with nature unless it’s necessary?!! So many uneducated people in regards to animals.”

However, many users defended the person’s actions. 

One user commented: “It’s tragic that this happened but the people that are leaving nasty unhelpful comments saying why couldn’t they just leave it alone, leave the same nasty comments when people don’t stop to pick up an animal in need. People don’t always know the difference between an animal that needs help & one that doesn’t! People are only trying to help, otherwise why go out of their way & inconvenience themselves like this?? Nasty comments will only stop people from helping ANY animals in future for fear of getting it wrong & this kind of vitriol online. Education & understanding is key. Nasty comments probably kill more animals than they help.”

Another said: “My daughter has just said, why don’t they teach us more about our wildlife at school, it would help us all know what to do in these scenarios and it would help save so many precious lives, so many people want to help but are completely uneducated on what’s right or wrong. 

Another comment read: “Sad outcome. However an extremely good post! Let’s all learn, it’s easy to criticise, let’s help not chastise