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Steer clear of baby deer

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By Fiona Reid
Steer clear of baby deer

A JOINT campaign is underway to inform members of the public about the need to give both pregnant or nursing deer and their young plenty of space when out enjoying the countryside.

Over the coming weeks, up to July, people may discover newly-born deer hidden in the grass or undergrowth and might mistakenly assume that they have been abandoned.

The message is: do not touch, disturb or move them as usually their mothers will not be far away.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the British Deer Society have joined forces to raise awareness of this important issue.

They say it is quite normal for newly born deer to be left hidden in grass and other undergrowth while their mothers feed nearby, returning at intervals to feed and nurse the youngsters until they have the strength to accompany them on their daily routine.

Newly-born deer that are disturbed, moved or touched could be abandoned by their mothers – almost certainly resulting in death for the young deer.

And the two groups revealed that every year fit and healthy newborn deer are taken to rescue centres unnecessarily by people believing that they require assistance.

James Sutcliffe, BASC’s deer officer, said: “It is of course exciting finding young deer when out exploring the countryside but touching or moving them can prove fatal.

“If they are left unable to fend for themselves due to human interference, this almost certainly result in a long and lingering death.

“If you stumble across a newborn deer hidden away please respect its space and leave it be.”

David Macauley, chief executive officer of the British Deer Society, added: “Deer are excellent mothers and by far the best suited to rear their own young.

“Give them space and, no matter how charming a newly born deer may appear, please resist the temptation to stroke or disturb it.

“Deer are wild animals that are naturally terrified by the scent or close proximity of humans and dogs.”

Dog owners are also asked to keep their pets on a lead when near deer.

Anyone concerned about the safety or wellbeing of any deer, should keep their distance and contact a local wildlife rescue organisation.


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