By Kelly Werthmann
BLACK FOREST, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s that time of year when fawns are spotted in places around Colorado, including in urban backyards.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife officers are urging people to leave the wildlife alone, after several baby deer were separated from their mothers by humans who believed the fawns were abandoned.
“You need to realize the mother’s out there,” Linda Cope, owner of nonprofit Wild Forever Foundation, said.
Cope is helping CPW rehabilitate the fawns mistakenly picked up by humans, something she’s done for more than 20 years.
“I started the foundation to care for animals that were truly orphaned or injured so they wouldn’t be by the side of the road,” she told CBS4.
On her property in Black Forest, Cope feeds, vaccinates and takes care of the young animals until they can return to the wild. Some of the fawns are just days old.
“Which means I have to get up at 2 o’clock in the morning to feed everybody,” she said.
Just this week, CPW has brought Cope four fawns picked up by people in Colorado Springs who thought the animals were alone. Cope said that’s a mistake she sees often because people do not realize the doe intentionally leaves its young in a safe place so she can eat or rest.
“In the first few weeks of life, that baby cannot keep up with its mother, so they have to do what’s called a ‘drop and freeze,’” Cope explained. “Unless you know the mother is injured or dead, leave the fawn alone and contact Colorado Parks & Wildlife.”
Cope is just one of a handful of licensed rehabbers in all of Colorado who will take in fawns. As much as she enjoys helping the animals, more help is needed.
“I have six fawns now and will have eight by tomorrow morning,” she said, adding she’d like to see the state create more facilities to help animals who are truly abandoned or hurt. “This is a community problem. This is a community issue. I would like for Colorado to be a role model in the country for the variety of wildlife that we have, the way we take care of them, the facilities we developed and the medical expertise we can provide.”
Until that happens, Cope said she will do whatever she can at Wild Forever Foundation to help fawns in need.
“Some people think I’m kind of crazy for doing this, but you just have to do what you have to do,” she said. “I have to do it.”
CPW says in almost every case, handling young animals is not helpful and can actually harm them. If the fawn hasn’t moved in 24 hours, give wildlife officials a call and they’ll know whether or not to step in.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.