'Nature is not a Walt Disney film': Conservation officers issue reminder after fawn seized from B.C. home
A Cumberland resident is on the hook for a $345 fine for unlawfully possessing live wildlife. (B.C. Conservation Officer Service)
MERVILLE -- A fawn seized by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service is now undergoing rehabilitation at a mid-island wildlife centre after being seized from a Vancouver Island home.
The baby deer is joining more than a dozen others that are also being cared for because of human interactions.
"He is quite skinny, he's probably one of the skinnier ones I've seen this year for sure," said Kiersten Shyian, wildlife rehab assistant manager at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue centre (MARS) in Merville.
"It could have to do with what they were feeding him or just that he wasn't getting enough nutrients in the wild," she said.
The fawn was brought to the facility Wednesday night after being seized from a Cumberland home where someone had been raising it.
"We think they had it for about a week and a half, maybe even two weeks," said Insp. Ben York, officer in charge for the conservation service's west coast region.
He says conservation officers went to the home after receiving a tip by a member of the public.
"They just decided they were able to care for it," York said.
The resident was issued a $345 violation ticket, much lighter than the $100,000 fine or one year in jail that could have been given had the matter gone through the courts.
"It often depends on previous history – could even be the attitude of the person, what their rationale was," said York. "In this instance the officer deemed that this was a sufficient penalty."
Shyian says while it's rare for the public to try to raise fawns in their homes, it does happen.
"We had one a few months ago where a younger male had trapped a fawn and kept it in a dog kennel in his house," she said.
Scooping up fawns, even if they appear to be abandoned, is something the B.C. Conservation Officer Service is trying to discourage.
"Nature is not a Walt Disney film. It does very well by itself and if you think an animal's in distress, we ask that you call the experts, not take care of it yourself," said York.
Employees at MARS wear special protective gear to ensure they don't transmit infections to the fawns, nor get any diseases in exchange, Shyian says. Precautions are also taken to prevent the animals from associating humans with food, a situation which could cost them their lives in later years.
Feedings also occur upwards of six times a day at MARS, something the average person wouldn't be prepared to do with an animal they're looking after in their own home, says Shyian.
"People just don't realize that they are so specialized and they need all this different help, rather than, ‘Oh, well, just give it some cow's milk,’" said Shyian.
There's no indication when or even if the seized fawn will be able to be released back into the wild.