Thanks to decades of cartoon animals and the anthropormorphizing of woodland creatures, there are now many people who seem to think that critters share our thoughts and feelings and, like us, need rescuing when things appear to go bad.
And so, when people see a cute, baby deer lying around, they simply must rescue it, or demand that legitimate animal rescue groups swoop in to save the day.
More often than not, all these animals need is to be left alone. In the case of fawns, being left alone is exactly what their mothers intended, as part of the natural rearing process. In one case reported to The News, homeowners spotted a fawn, snapped a photo and left it alone for its mother to care for. Which it did.
Leaving things be is not at all what people would do with their offspring. But, again, animals aren’t people. And not as helpless as some would think.
We might be well-meaning in these actions, but they show we are also ignorant, and in some cases, outraged when we’re told — for good reason — to leave the animals alone.
When a legitimate rescue is required — such as human-caused orphans or serious injury — it’s wonderful we have dedicated people with the SPCA and North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre.
Yet they are here, too, to ensure people don’t step in when it’s not required.
Enjoy the Island’s wildlife — but care for it as well. Don’t tempt animals in with garbage or neglected fruit trees, and learn more about our animal neighbours before reacting as one might to an injured or lone human being. — editorial by Steven Heywood