Local News

Rangers: Don't take wildlife from Umstead park

Posted June 4, 2009
Updated June 5, 2009

— As spring invites hikers and campers out to Umstead State Park, park rangers have a message for them: Don't take the wildlife, especially fawns, out of the park.

A deer roams Umstead Park. Rangers: Leave wildlife in the park

Park Ranger Bob Davies recently got a seemingly bizarre call from a hiker.

"She witnessed a woman who (was) riding a bike actually pick up a fawn and take it to her van," Davies said. The caller said the woman then drove out of the park with the baby deer, he said.

"She was probably thinking it was injured and decided the best course was to take it to whomever, be it a rehab or a veterinarian," he said.

Kathy Dick, an anesthesia supervisor at the North Carolina State University Veterinary School, said that she took the fawn after she couldn't get in contact with park rangers. She brought the fawn to CLAWS, a Chapel Hill-based animal rescue group that is rehabilitating 25 deer.

"It was obvious to us that the fawn was hurt and needed help," Dick said.

The fawn had injuries consistent with a fox attack and needed immediate medical attention, said Kindra Mammone, a licensed fawn rehabilitator and executive director of CLAWS. Veterinary personnel couldn't save the fawn, she said.

Davies said that park visitors have taken animals out of the park before and that rangers are getting more reports of injured fawns, mostly from people walking along hiking trails. Springtime is the season for fawns to be born, and since newborns are weak, people make mistakenly believe they are injured, he said.

Visitors are encouraged to call if they believe they have found an injured animal, but taking animals out of the park is against the rules, rangers said. They will issue a citation to anyone caught doing so.

"People might think they're doing the right thing by picking up the deer, but maybe it ought to be publicized more that that's not the right thing to do," park visitor Angela Crosbie-Smith said.

The rule is for the animals' own protection, rangers said. "Sometimes, the mothers won't accept the baby back," Davies said.

Mammone called it an "old wives' tale" that a mother deer won't accept a fawn once it's reintroduced after human contact.

If someone finds injured wildlife and can't in touch rangers, the best thing is to contact a rescue group, she advised.

Dick agreed and stressed that someone without veterinary training shouldn't approach wildlife.

"Pursue someone else until you get in touch with somebody," she advised.


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  • Shadow213 Jun 4, 2009

    my mom had a fawn follow her home while she was jogging once. she wasn't really sure what to do. it turns out that the fawn was actually a neighbor's "pet." (As in, it was injured-- and not domesticated-- but was nursed back to health by humans, so I guess it thought humans were its parents). That dear grew up and was still tame. Funny. heh.

  • kellyaustin96 Jun 4, 2009

    Animal lovers are wildlife's worst enemy. A newborn calf, fawn or colt looks inebriated a few hours after birth when they are figuring out this walking art. But take a subdivision soccer Mom, and she thinks she is in a Disney movie and saving Bambi.

  • imharri2 Jun 4, 2009

    One less deer to stand in the middle of the road or eat everything in my back yard...shucks....

  • TriangleMommy Jun 4, 2009

    Gee and I wanted to head over to Umstead to pick me up some wildlife to have as a pet. Darn, the State spoils all my fun.

    *giggle giggle*

    Cute baby wild animals grow up to be not so cute, and very mean adult animals.

  • Trivr Jun 4, 2009

    I was always told to never touch a baby wild animal because when the mother returns after you leave, if she smells human scent on it, she'll abandon it and it'll die.

  • lma1973 Jun 4, 2009

    I had a pet deer one time. Turned out to be a 12 point buck whne he got full grown. We kept him in the back yard and even taught it how to catch a frisbee. Dont think those suckers arent smart because they are. It kept eating the corn that we had in our small garden but we didnt really mind. Best pet i ever had.

  • brewmonkey Jun 4, 2009

    heh. pays to make sure, speed.

  • speedy Jun 4, 2009

    brew: I usually turn around and go back....just to make sure.

  • WHEEL Jun 4, 2009

    And just remember folks that everything belongs to the State now and you are just lucky that they even let you look at it even if it's on your property which of course won't be yours for long.

  • Timbo Jun 4, 2009

    "Maybe some people are just stupid and don't think before they act."

    Exactly. Probably one those golo women that hate Michael Vick so much. And think their dog or cat is their "baby".