Wildlife orphans: PAWS maxed out with fawns

LYNNWOOD, Wash. -- At the PAWS Wildlife Center, it can't get much busier than it is right now.

"We have about 279 injured and orphaned wildlife in our care right now. So it's our peak summer season right now," said PAWS' Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager Emily Meredith.

PAWS quickly maxed out on fawns, with six of them sharing the space. Every year, well meaning people scoop fawns out of the wild after seeing them alone. But it's normal for a mother deer to leave her babies for hours at a time.

"They're supposed to lay there and be quiet. As they get older they'll get up and walk around but then they'll lay back down and then mom comes back and feeds them. But people see them and immediately think they need care," Meredith said.

Once at PAWS, the orphan deer are fed, cleaned and cared for. But there's no talking or petting and as little interaction as possible.

"The overall goal for us is always to put them back out in the wild. and everything we do is focused on that," said Wildlife Rehabilitator Kym Buzdygon. "I never think of them as something that should be cuddled or should get that sort of attention. I always want them to be wild, to stay away from me."

The deer won't return to the wild until the fall, when they're big enough to fend for themselves. And with the pens full this early in the year, wildlife workers hope good Samaritans will call before launching their own animal rescue operation.

"We can talk with them, find out what's going on, what they're seeing and make sure the animal really does need our care before they scoop them up and bring them in," said Meredith.

It costs about $135 a week to care for a single fawn. That means by the time they're released, the six fawns will cost upwards of $16,000. You can help by contacting PAWS.

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