Fawn season is well underway and WildSafeBC Cariboo Coordinator Laylah Fariad is asking folks to keep their distance.
This time of year, many people will encounter fawns, which are normally left by does during the day as mothers go to forage for food and water. This is a natural process, and fawns will try to hide and sometimes even freeze or drop to the ground when encountering humans.
“It’s tough because this is a prime time for tourists to come into the area,” said Fariad, noting those who are not as familiar with wildlife might think the fawns are abandoned or need help.
She wants to empower local area residents to help educate those less familiar with wildlife to help keep everyone safe. Fariad herself lives in Likely, and said she understands how wonderful it is to get to see wildlife up close, but it is better for everyone if people keep their distance.
Advise anyone you see around a fawn not to pick it up, touch it or move it, but instead to leave it alone and stay back. If a fawn is in immediate danger, for example it drops or lays down on a road, make noise and get the fawn to move under its own power out of the danger zone.
Touching a fawn could result in a returning mother rejecting the baby due to human scent.
Fariad said conservation officers have told her one of the biggest issues they deal with this time of year is people taking fawns from where they find them hiding, thinking they are abandoned.
Another concern can be aggressive does. Not unusual behaviour, especially when they have young, Fariad advises people to keep their pets on a leash if they know there is a doe in the area and especially if you know it has young.
It is also important not to feed the deer, because doing so ruins their natural cycles and makes them vulnerable to attacks. Relying on food provided by humans decreases their chances of survival in the wild and attracts other wildlife, including predators which may then be in conflict with humans.
“If you love the deer and appreciate the deer, you have to be conscious of the deer and be mindful,” she said.
When you are going for a walk in your community, consider how you can try to reduce human-wildlife conflict and “keep wildlife wild and communities safe” said Fariad.
We are in their home, Fariad reminds people, though she acknowledges it is a tough issue because we have such a large deer population in the region. The goal is to not try to change wildlife behaviour, but behave appropriately to reduce hazards to both humans and wildlife.
To report wildlife-human conflicts or injured wildlife, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
For more information on reducing wildlife-human conflicts, go to wildsafebc.ca