State fish and wildlife officers are rounding up juvenile deer and elk at a Rochester wildlife rehabilitation facility — and facility owners fear the animals will be put down, according to KIRO-TV.
The owners of For Heaven’s Sake Wildlife Rescue said the state had no reason to confiscate the animals and that a former intern misinformed officials that the young animals were overly friendly to humans.
The rescue facility said the described behavior was at a time when the animals were being bottle-fed, KIRO reported.
“The fawns we were raising were too friendly to be released in the wild,” said Claudia Supensky with the rescue organization. “That’s the time in their lives when they stop depending on humans.”
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State government observed Veterans Day on Friday, so The Olympian could not reach anyone with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife.
KIRO reporter that state law on wildlife rehabilitation says: “Wildlife tamed by, imprinted on, or habituated to humans before admission to the primary permittee’s facility can be retained for education if the department authorizes this in writing.”
Officers began rounding up and shooting the herd with darts Thursday, but most of the animals fled into nearby woods. Officers took four fawns and an elk calf and said they would be back for the rest Friday.
Supensky told KIRO her facility has never had anything like this happen in the past.
“My worry is that they'll be euthanized prematurely,” Supensky said, “without giving them a chance.”
In a Facebook post Friday, For Heaven’s Sake Wildlife Rescue wrote “without the help of outside public, donors and supporters, this will continue to happen to those that have no voice. It is obvious that we are not their voice as a rehabilitation facility and caregivers. Reaching out to your local state leaders (commissioners, senators, legislators and governor) is needed to protect our wild friends.”