Removing young deer an offence

North Okanagan residents are being warned to leave young deer alone, even if they appear to be abandoned.

The Ministry of Environment recently charged three people with possession of fawns.

“No one is allowed to pick up wildlife without permission,” said Josh Lockwood, conservation officer.

The problem occurs when someone sees a fawn sitting by itself in tall grass. They believe it has been orphaned, but that’s not the case.

“The mother left the fawn while she forages for food and she can be gone for up to 17 to 24 hours and then come back,” said Lockwood.

There are cases where a fawn picked up by people can be successfully returned to its mother, but that doesn’t always work.

“Once touched by humans, they often won’t reattach,” said Lockwood.

Options for deer that can’t be returned to the wild are limited as some wildlife facilities are not taking any new animals because of the risk of disease.

In some cases, fawns were not properly fed by residents who picked them up and they have to be euthanized because of malnourishment.

Lockwood says people must understand that even with the best of intentions, removing a fawn from the wild and trying to raise it causes significant issues.

“We won’t go through another situation like we had in Coldstream,” he said.

Last year, a tamed deer began wandering through some Coldstream neighbourhoods and posed a risk to residents, including at a school. It was eventually destroyed.

“Wildlife needs to stay wild,” said Lockwood.

“People in possession of a fawn without approval will be charged.”

The minimum fine for being in possession of wildlife is $345 and charges could be laid.


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