PULLMAN, Wash.—Today, a fawn brought to the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital was euthanized due to severe head trauma likely resulting from being hit by a car.

While this case was tragic and unpreventable, the incident points out the many hazards young wildlife face each spring and summer at the hands of both nature and people.

WSU veterinarians encourage the public to leave young wildlife alone if one happens to come upon a nest of young birds or rabbits or a bedded fawn.  Removing a fawn from the wild is never a good idea.

Each year when new fawns are born, people who enjoy the outdoors may come upon them hidden in a secluded area.  The first mistake occurs when a well-meaning person looks around and doesn’t see the doe and believes the fawn is orphaned.  The second mistake they make is picking it up to “save it.”

Veterinarians and wildlife experts nationwide agree that people should not touch young animals or remove them from their habitat no matter what people imagine will happen if they don’t.  In fact, the vast majority of fawns discovered by people are simply waiting for the doe to return. 

For the first few weeks of the fawn’s life, the doe keeps the fawn hidden except for suckling.  The doe may also feed and bed a considerable distance from the fawn’s bed site; a survival skill to lessen the chances for predators finding the fawn.

Costs to care for a single fawn brought to the WSU veterinary college run from $1500 to $2000 and because they are owned by the state, the state has to pay the bill.