A Tragic Beginning, an Uplifting End
On June 16, 2007, a vehicle struck a female Mule Deer on Interstate 90 west of Cle Elum, Washington. A call was placed to the Kittitas Wildlife Rehabilitation Group, and a state-permitted wildlife rehabilitator named Marnee drove to the scene of the collision to see if anything could be done for the deer. Upon arrival, Marnee discovered that the deer was deceased. The story might have ended there, with the sad acknowledgment of another wild life cut short by a human's desire to move rapidly from one place to another. But as Marnee looked away from the body of the doe, she noticed some movement that caught her eye. A newborn fawn, only minutes old, lay on the shoulder of the road not far from his mother's body. The force of the vehicle's impact had brought him suddenly into the world; an orphan from the very moment of birth.
The fawn was in shock and disoriented, but amazingly had no signs of injury. Marnee quickly scooped him up, wrapped him in a blanket and took him to her home-based rehabilitation center. Marnee cared for the fawn for three days. His condition stabilized. He began to accept regular meals and gain strength. On June 20, Marnee delivered the fawn to the PAWS Wildlife Center to be raised with several other fawns that were already in care. He was entered into the wildlife center database as case number 07-1130.
During the following five months fawn 07-1130 shared his enclosure with a White-tailed Deer fawn that was also found near Cle Elum and two Black-tailed Deer fawns from the west side of the Cascades. Under the care of PAWS staff and volunteers, all four deer slowly transformed from spotted, awkward, spindly-legged youngsters to sleek, muscular sub-adults. By November, they were ready for their independence.
Release day came on November 14. The two Black-tailed Deer were loaded into their transport containers and driven to a protected 800-acre release site in Western Washington. Mule Deer 07-1130 and his white-tailed companion were driven back to their home territory on the east side of the Cascades. They were released on a property that contained more than 4,000 acres of protected, natural habitat. The following photos and captions tell the story.