Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wildlife Stewardship

Meet Lily the Whitetail deer. This little doe lost her mother by the train in front of our house.  She would have not made it much longer if some good hearted women wouldn't have stepped in.

After feeding her and picking off a ton of ticks , our next step was what to do with her. By Georgia law you can't raise or keep a deer as a pet. The DNR website provided deer rehab facilities in our area. Due to the economy and lack of support , every last contact resulted in zero. Everybody we talked to told us to return  her to the woods or just put her down.

We thought we found the perfect place in Auburn .Their website said that they specialize in fawn rehab and release. After driving all the way over there , they said they no longer wanted to handle this type of care. By this point , we looked into getting a Georgia Deer rehab permit but you need a vet to review the animals health. The vet that handles this type of work here , would never return our calls.

With more a lot of dedication and research , Adrie , located a 1000 acre animal rescue facility in South Georgia. We made arrangements and took Lily for a road trip. This facility was unlike anything I could have imagined. It was way off the beaten path. There were many large cages and buildings spread out through the woods. I was greeted by serveral barking dogs and a giant wild boar. We were soon greeted by the owner/operator. This lady cares for 185+ wild animals. There were bobcats , racoons , beavers , birds of all kinds, a black bear and even a buzzard.

Lily was taken in and placed in a pack-n- play to stay the night. I was amazed to see a diaper put on a deer. We were taken for a tour and amazed at the life saving work this woman does. She works here alone and its a full time job. We entered a building that Lily will soon be staying in. It was a nursery for fawns. Inside there was 10-12 fawns already there that were Lily's age. Some were hit by cars , some were attacked by dogs. Once they can begin eating acorns and grass , they will move to a larger outdoor pen with other deer. From that point they will be free to leave and join other wild deer.

If you should see a fawn alone , please do not approach it. This was a special situtation where we knew the mother was dead. Generally fawns are born mid to late June. They are born scentless to help predators not be able to find them. Usually the mother isn't far away. If you get involved like we did , the results may not have such a happy ending. If unsure you can contact the DNR or let us know and we will get you in touch with rehab facility.

The Cherokee used everything from the deer they harvested and they were thankful for the deer giving it's life for them. I hold that close to our values and we are teaching this to our son. While we harvest deer for our meals , we recognize the importance in sometimes reaching deep and giving back to the animals.

A special thanks to the lady that runs this facility. Your work really touches our hearts and made this rescue worth all the effort to save this animal.

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