The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre team is passionate about supporting Island wildlife, but each spring, they see many more fawns than they should as well-meaning animal lovers jump to the “rescue” too soon.
Located in Errington, a few minutes outside Parksville, the centre takes in ill, injured or orphaned wildlife, rehabilitating those that can be released back to the wild and providing a home to those that can’t. Non-releasable animals become ambassadors for the needs of wildlife and the vital work undertaken at the centre, which welcomes visitors for self-guided tours and special events.
But while the centre exists to help local wildlife, the key message each spring, as we begin seeing more deer grazing, is this: If you see a fawn, leave it alone, says Sylvia Campbell, association co-founder with husband Robin.
“It’s a huge issue,” Campbell says. “This time of year, as people start hiking more and spending time in the garden, they come across healthy fawns they believe are orphaned or abandoned, and bring them in thinking they’re rescuing them.”
More often that not, however, the fawns are just fine and need to be returned where they were found.
In a unique adaptation, much like their spots, fawns carry no scent, Campbell explains. Their mothers will often leave them hidden in grass or shrubs for a day or more while they leave to feed without drawing the attention of predators.
Similarly, young fawns may appear injured as they toddle across the road after their mother, but rather than being picked up, should be gently herded across to where the doe is likely waiting.
If uncertain about a fawn, call the centre at 250-248-8534 before moving it.
Discover the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association
The kick-off to the summer season, Discovery Day is chock full of events and activities for all ages. “Bring the family for a day of discovery!” Campbell says.
In addition to visiting animals like Knut, the centre’s black bear ambassador, and Dougal, their beautiful blind raven, visitors can take in scavenger hunts, a reptile presentation, and drumming with Indigenous artist Bill Helin. Explore Turtle Town, the wildlife garden and the volunteer-led “Learning from the Bones,” sharing fascinating facts revealed by animal skeletons, and have a bite from the on-site food trucks.
Come explore with a special $5 Discovery Day adult rate, with those 12 and younger free.
Throughout the year, donations and volunteers are essential to making the centre’s work possible. Click here to learn about how you can contribute – remember, “They depend on us; we depend on you,” Campbell says.