Orphaned Deer Find New Home at Buttonwood Park Zoo
Seems like the rescue of wildlife across the SouthCoast happens every day. Some local animals even need to be rescued twice! Yet, there's one creature we almost never hear about - deer.
Sadly baby deer are orphaned all the time. Local hunters, busy roadways and wild predators are every day threats to the local deer population and sometimes the younger members of a herd are left without a doe to show them the ropes.
That was the case for a trio of white-tailed fawns that arrived at New Bedford Buttonwood Park Zoo this summer.
Our amazing local zoo has a great relationship with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife. Through this relationship, the zoo has been able to rescue and rehabilitate local wildlife of all sorts.
In this case, three fawns came to the zoo when they were just weeks old. There was no sign of their mother and they needed to be hand-reared for several weeks. Because of this, they became imprinted on their rehabilitators and it was determined to be in their best interest to stay in human care.
The fawns, named Annabelle, Acorn, and Thistle, have now completed their required quarantine and were recently introduced to a temporary outdoor habitat at the zoo. That space sits next to the 1/2 acre pasture at Buttonwood they will eventually be calling home.
Pretty soon zoo guests will find these three growing girls wandering the grounds along with fellow white-tailed deer Autumn and Olive and approximately 16 species of waterfowl.
Though this fawn story has a happy ending, Buttonwood Park Zoo and Mass Wildlife remind people that this situation could have been avoided. Folks with good intentions thought they were helping these fawns, but there are tips from Mass Wildlife on what should actually be done if you find a baby deer in the wild.
Had they been a little older they might have been able to be released back in nature, though Sarah Henry, Executive Director of the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society, says many non-releasable wildlife now call Buttonwood home.
The zoo's female harbor seal, Yellow, both cougars, Nikki and Riley, and both bobcats, Max and Maize, along with new zoo addition, one-year-old opossum Odin, came to Buttonwood after they were determined to be non-releasable by Mass Wildlife.
Henry adds that the zoo is also "currently caring for three Trumpeter swans who will be released in Oregon late this fall", so reintroduction programs are run at our local zoo as well.
Keep scrolling to see what you can do in your own yard to keep wildlife safe.