Don’t “Rescue” Me

Fawn at Allegheny Cemetery, May 2014 (photo by Sharon Leadbitter)

This month you might find a fawn resting alone in the woods. He wants you to know: “Don’t kidnap me! My mother is nearby. I’m not abandoned!”

This fawn is resting in a place that looks like a field of square, granite boulders. Sharon Leadbitter found him as she drove through Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood in late May. He was hiding by a headstone near the road.

Sharon often looks for wildlife in the cemetery where she’s seen groundhogs, foxes, deer, and many kinds of birds. When she pulled to the side of the road on May 28 she was surprised to find a fawn curled up close by. Sharon wrote, “So tiny!! Can’t be more than 2-3 days old. The hooves are still shiny. I was within 3 feet of it.”

The fawn is doing what comes naturally, resting during the day while his mother feeds elsewhere. He’s still too young to keep up with her so she told him to “Stay!” and left him alone so her presence won’t attract a predator to his location.

Six days later Sharon found a second fawn under the cemetery trees and this same fawn near another headstone. He has stayed here for many days because his mother knows it’s such a safe location. He’s bigger … and so are his ears!

If you find a fawn resting alone, don’t touch! Leave him alone! His mother has not abandoned him. She knows where he is (she’s a Mom!) and will come back when the humans are gone. She’s relying on her baby to stay motionless during the day. The worst thing that could happen is if a human “rescues” him and takes him away from his mother and her milk.  She will search for him when he’s gone.

The Animal Rescue League Wildlife Center in Verona, PA receives many calls about “abandoned” fawns at this time of year. Click here for their helpful fact sheet.  The Wildlife Center of Virginia urges us:  Don’t Be a Fawn Kidnapper!

Meanwhile, if you drive through Allegheny Cemetery move very slowly and be alert for wildlife. Perhaps you’ll see a fawn.


(photo and video by Sharon Leadbitter)

One thought on “Don’t “Rescue” Me

  1. I follow postings from Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Center which does wild animal rescue. They are being inundated with fawns and expressing the same concerns.

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