BRADENTON BEACH (FOX 13) - For the past few years, abandoned baby deer have been turning up in Manatee County.
Land development and new homes have moved in on their territory, some mother deer to lose track of their babies. If an abandoned fawn doesn’t get help quickly, it could be too late.
That’s where Ed Straight comes in. He’s the president of Wildlife Inc., where two little fawns are getting much-needed attention and care.
"We are prepared. We expect this year to have as many as 10 fawns," Straight told FOX 13 News.
Their expectations have had to grow over the years, and not in a good way. More fawns are found abandoned each year.
"Quite often, the mother leaves her baby hidden in a safe place, sometimes up to 24 hours, and then comes back for them," Straight explained. "If it’s in a safe place and it looks like the mother has hidden it there, then we usually ask people to stay back and wait to see what happens."
But in the case of Wildlife Inc.’s latest wards, the mothers never returned. Both fawns now in their care are barely a week old. And Wildlife Inc. rescued a third Wednesday night.
Straight says the calls for help are just beginning and they ask people who come across fawns, to keep an eye on the animal and do not interfere.
Rescuers will often go to the area and wait it out, but if the mother isn't seen in hours they have to step in.
"We can only wait so long. We have that window of opportunity. If we wait too long then the baby is going to be beyond us saving it because it'll be too dehydrated and we can't save it," Straight said.
The fawns will be taken care of until they’re about six months old. Then they are released at a preserve in Polk County where there's no hunting allowed.
Wildlife Inc. says if you see a baby deer that looks dehydrated you can leave goats milk for it to drink, but you should not interfere with the baby until you know for certain its mother is not coming back.
If you think a fawn in your area needs help, you can call Wildlife Inc. at 941-778-6324.