In our last newsletter we introduced you to "Momma
Deer," our foster mother for orphaned fawns. This year Momma
was in the news quite often as people stepped forward to help this
wonderful animal who mothers babies that are not her own.
began with Comcast employee, Mark Reed, who came to repair our
service following a storm. Enamored with Momma Deer and her story,
Mark enrolled Red Creek in the Comcast Cares volunteer event, an
annual community service day where Comcast employees and their
families volunteer to make a difference.
And make a difference they did! Saturday, April 30th,
fifty volunteers with a "let’s get it done" attitude
descended upon Red Creek. By the end of the day, Momma Deer had a new
home: a 1600 square foot environment with a natural forest floor and trees.
next day Dr. Carol Yeisley, owner of Berks Veterinary Services,
sedated Momma Deer and she was gently moved to her new enclosure. The
timing was perfect because the new fawns began to arrive only two
Momma Deer’s maternal instincts kicked in again this
year as eleven fawns were introduced to her to foster. As in years
past, she took to each one with patience and protectiveness. All
eleven thrived and grew strong and agile in the much larger enclosure.
Each year of rehabilitating fawns is memorable, and we
know it is successful because each year the fawns return to Momma
Deer’s pen and socialize. Now wild and free, their connection to
their foster mother allows us the opportunity to keep tabs on them
from a distance. Even as adults, several deer from previous years
continue to return and visit Momma.
time for the fawns is always the hardest. They still look so very
young and fragile and we worry about predators and automobiles. It is
a time when we need to let go and allow them to become independent
wild animals but their future is uncertain. Momma Deer must remain
behind and can no longer protect and guide them. This year, however,
was different and gave us great comfort as nature stepped in to help
make the new fawns’ transition much easier.
For the past two years an adult doe has been
faithfully visiting Momma Deer. Most likely a fawn she raised in
2009, this doe has chosen Red Creek’s forest as her permanent home.
This spring was different, for although she still visited, this year
she brought three fawns of her own.
Our goal is to not only help the animals we receive
heal for release, but to help them take their natural place in the
world as if nothing had interrupted their lives in the first place.
It is wonderful to see the animals we rehabilitate thrive in the
wild, but to witness one actually having a family of their own is to
witness the COMPLETE success of our rehabilitation program.
This deer and her fawns gave us great joy as we watched the wild
triplets grow at the same time Momma was raising the eleven.
We caught sight of this wild mother doe and her
triplets grazing in a nearby field a few days after we released the
eleven. She was alert to her surroundings and the triplets watched
her closely. Suddenly we noticed several more fawn leaving the forest
to join her in the field. Were Momma’s fawns following them? Would
this wild doe accept them?
The answer was clear a few days later when our field
camera caught the doe visiting Momma and (within the same frame) SIX
fawns. When Momma’s job ended, this doe took to the task of fostering
the new fawns and teaching them about being free. They still all
visit Momma and hopefully will someday have families of their very own.
To read the whole story about Comcast Cares and Momma
Deer’s new enclosure
(with LOTS of pictures)