Friday, 7 June 2013

Fawns and Donkey Alarm Clocks...

As an Authorized Wildlife Custodian in Southern Ontario I am the CEO at Hobbitstsee Wildlife Refuge where we rehabilitate orphaned and injured wild animals.

I thought it might be nice to share some of the stories of the animals that pass through this facility. Some are heart breaking, but many are uplifting or funny.

What started it all for me is my goats. I have a small herd of purebred Toggenburg goats. Many baby animals can be raised on goats milk. I came across a batch of orphaned raccoons and whilst I looked for assistance with the little fur balls I fed them goats milk. I did not know it is illegal to be in the possession of wildlife for more than 24 hours and it took me a bit longer before I found help.

Things kind of snowballed from there. I went through all the motions to become an AWC. It is not easy and not for the faint at heart, but I love what I do. Unfortunately wildlife rehabilitation is not a paying job. As a matter of fact it costs a lot of money, but enough about that.

Wildlife orphans come in waves. Right now I am in the middle of the fawn wave. It is important to point out that most fawns we receive are not truly orphaned. Unfortunately when people see a fawn alone they assume it's orphaned. However, mother deer (a doe) actually leave their fawns hidden so they can go and eat. They return frequently to feed and nurture the fawn. Imagine how surprised and sad the does get when their fawns get 'abducted'.

The good thing is that does will happily take their fawns back if one is taken by mistake. You can return the fawns to the spot they have been found even after as much as 48 hours. Make sure you stay out of sight and scent or you will be the cause of the doe not returning.

We currently have 7 fawns here. Several of those fawns people tried to raise themselves, but found they could not manage and called here for help. It is not as easy as it looks.

One little fawn stands out. This little girl was brought out to me late at night. A nice couple had found her. She was caught in a fence. They untangled her and her sibling and left them to allow the doe to return. Several hours later the sibling was no longer there, but this much weaker fawn was unable to stand and the doe had no choice but to leave her.

When she arrived she was not in good shape at all. I was really concerned and not sure if she would make it through the night. I spent a fair bit of time re-hydrating her and gave her some pain medication to relieve the discomfort of her injuries and finally went to bed exhausted.

Molly the Livestock Guardian Donkey
 I have a great 'alarm clock' in the form of a donkey named Molly. She brays me awake every morning at 5.30 am. Unfortunately you can't shut her off. She feels I should get up so she can be fed. There is not much point in ignoring her, so even after going to bed so late I got up at 5.30 and quickly went to check on the fawn prior to giving Molly her breakfast. The fawn was in her heated crate looking at me bleating for a meal. I made Molly wait a little longer for her breakfast.

Now several days later this little girl is doing very well. She is eating her allotment of 2 liters of milk a day and she is happy hanging out with the rest of the fawns.


1 comment:

  1. I was really enjoying the story, can't wait to read more on the fawns.