This weekend just past saw a new arrival. A new muntjac deer fawn was born in our walkthrough re squirrel enclosure.
It caused quite a stir, as the mother gave birth early in the morning and just before our red squirrel, just down beside the boardwalk. This particular female has successfully reared young in the past though, and being so settled in the enclosure was quite relaxed feeding and cleaning her hew baby while visitors watched.
After about an hour, she went off and left the youngster to feed her self. This is often what happens in the wild too, and why it is so important to leave young deer alone if you find them out on a walk. They may look abandoned, but chances are that they have just been left by the mother in a safe place while she goes off to feed, and she will be back again later to collect. If you are that concerned, leave well alone to give the mother a chance to come back, and go and check later in the day. Chances are the youngster will have been moved.
Once the mother came back she collected the little one, very wobbly on it's legs, and took it out in to a bit more cover under the trees. There she gave it another feed and a good wash. Dad even came over to check that they were doing alright...
... er, well... Would be nice to think that, but he was probably waiting for her to come in to season again. She will likely be mated within the next few days for the process to start again.
Muntjac deer are an introduced species to the UK, and are beginning to get to the numbers which are causing some problems out in the wild. They are quite a popular animal for small wildlife parks though, and we have a waiting list for centres wishing to home our young muntjac. It is quite likely that this little one will be making it's way to Wildwood Trust once weaned.
Below is a short video clip of the fawn being washed.