by Jaimie Baxter and Janet Klein
The spring season provides us with a plethora of presents—wildflowers, gorgeous weather and new offspring of our favorite wild animals. If you are lucky enough, you may have the opportunity to witness a northern spotted owl fledging and its mother sitting together on in a tree or a doe licking her fawn clean in an open meadow.
Imagine this scenario. It is early morning and you are running along your favorite trail. Your ear buds are in and your running pace is set. You look to your left and East Peak is glowing in the distance. You look right to the open grassland, and suddenly you see a baby fawn sitting all alone in this open field. You are in awe of the cuteness of this small, brown-and-white-spotted creature. You stop running and tiptoe closer to it. As you get closer, you realize that the mother is nowhere in sight. She must have abandoned her young, or worse, been eaten by a mountain lion. Your mind goes into protection mode and you think that someone must do something. Since you are the only one around, you think it’s up to you to take this fragile fawn to an animal rescue center. STOP!
Fawn season has kicked off with an unprecedented number of “kidnappings” this year: concerned folks “rescuing” newborns that appear to be completely alone, when mom had simply settled them down for a nap and gone off to graze. Of the fawns brought to WildCare already this year, nearly all appeared hydrated and recently fed, meaning an attentive parent was nearby.
What should you do if you find a fawn alone? Keep going—Mom will re-emerge when no people are around.
If you should happen upon an animal that appears injured, ill or otherwise in need of help, don’t attempt to provide that help yourself. It is never okay to remove a wild animal from its natural home on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed. Instead, contact the Marin Humane Society at (415) 883-4621. Their staff is prepared to assess the situation, determine if rabies or another disease is potentially involved, and take appropriate action.