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MARS Moment: Building a much-needed treatment facility for fawns

This fawn is a patient at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society. Photo supplied

By Pearl Mackenzie

Special to Black Press

People volunteering for not-for-profit organizations often have ideas about how they can improve their working conditions and outcomes but cannot afford to act on those thoughts.

This is a story about a generous and thoughtful donor who is enabling us to build a much-needed treatment facility for the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS). It is now under construction and will soon be ready to receive our first patients of the year.

Spring is here and orphaned fawns will soon begin arriving at our wildlife hospital. All babies, including fawns, need their mother for the very best care. The rehabilitators’ challenge is to provide a mother’s care while at the same time ensuring that fawns do not become habituated to humans. The goal is to send them home to live out the rest of their lives as wild animals.

After years of doing this work, volunteer caregivers at MARS designed the ideal facility for treating and rehabilitating fawns. They envisioned an exam and treatment space that is open to the outdoors, well ventilated, much like the way they are raised in the wild but still protected from predators. A place that will more efficiently allow rehabilitators to give vaccinations and the supplements needed when fawns are not being suckled by a doe.

Fawns have very delicate digestive systems and being able to isolate their food preparation and dishes from the rest of the hospital will help to keep them healthy. Had they been able to stay with their mothers, her milk would have given these babies antibodies to protect them from local diseases and necessary nutrients for healthy growth

The design for this dedicated area has enough space for each fawn to allow rehabilitators to keep them clean and identify problems at an early stage.

Importantly it would also quarantine these little vulnerable patients from the major diseases that are currently attacking deer.

We are very grateful to Helga for partnering with us to help fawns.

Please note, it is normal for a mother deer to leave her fawns alone for periods of time. If you find a fawn that you think may be orphaned and the mother does not return for some long period of time, phone MARS Wildlife Hospital at 250-337-2021.

Pearl Mackenzie is the vice-president of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society