Fawns at risk from drivers on Saanich roads

Pound officers collected the body of a young fawn, estimated at no more than a week old, Tuesday morning as part of the daily roadkill cleanup.

The animal, no bigger than a housecat, was found dead in the 5100-block of Cordova Bay Rd., an area plagued by deer-vehicle collisions.

“That’s the same area we were picking up a lot of deer last year. It’s right at the end of a 30-kilometre playground stretch in Cordova Bay,” said Saanich animal pound officer Susan Ryan. “If people just read signs, obeyed the speed limits, it wouldn’t be as big a problem as it is.”

In 2010 Saanich pound officers and police received almost 1,000 deer-related calls, the majority of which were for crashes.

“Right now a lot of the calls are for fawns. In the fall is when we get into rutting season with the older males,” she said. “The fawns aren’t the brightest little critters, and they’ll follow mom out into traffic when she goes off looking for food.”

Ryan says another deer issue that becomes prevalent in the spring is would-be animal rescuers finding an “abandoned” fawn and escorting it to an animal rescue agency like WildARC.

“That’s the worst thing you can do,” Ryan said, adding that a fawn, seen alone, is typically waiting for its mother to return with food. “Watch it. If the deer hasn’t come back in 24 hours, then phone us. People should not intervene.”

The survival rate for orphaned fawns drops significantly once there’s human intervention and it’s removed from its natural environment.

“People just need to be very aware,” Ryan said. “There are a lot of animals in Saanich. And there are a lot of issues that come about because of that.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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