A baby roe deer who was close to death after being found all alone on a County Durham cycle path is recovering after being spotted by chance by an RSPCA officer.
RSPCA animal collection officer Shane Lynn was on his way to his inspectorate group office in Stockton-on-Tees when he thought he saw out of the corner of his eye a small deer on its own on a cycle path.
He got out of his van and started to walk up the cycle path, where he found the small, shaky baby roe deer, who was only a month old – with no mum around.
Suddenly, the baby deer collapsed in front of him, and Shane quickly spurred into action – carefully picking up the kid and transporting her to a nearby vets.
Shane said: “The poor deer had been staggering around before she collapsed, she clearly was not in a good way. I looked around for her mum but she couldn’t be seen anywhere. I knew the deer would need immediate veterinary treatment otherwise she wouldn’t survive, so I carefully took her to a vet, where she was kept overnight.
“The vets said it was lucky that I spotted her as she probably wouldn’t have survived much longer if she hadn’t been picked up. It really was a case of me being in the right place at the right time.
“She was so weak that the vets didn’t think she would make it to the morning.”
However by sunrise, the deer had started to gain strength and, following vet advice, was strong enough to be transferred to the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange wildlife centre, in Cheshire.
As she was so young she needed to be bottle-fed – but staff weren’t sure how well she would get on, having had less of the benefits of her mother’s milk.
Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said: “Staff have been very hands-off during the deer’s short stay at the centre so that she does not become tamed in any way. While she is very cute, we are very aware of the fact that she is a wild animal and has to be kept that way so that she has the best chance of surviving in the wild when she is released.
“Despite the hard start to her life, she has been getting stronger every day and was well enough to be transferred to our East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk, which has a specially designed deer crèche and numerous paddocks to rehabilitate deer in.
“Now we are entering into summer it may be more usual to see young deer but unless they are in immediate danger or showing signs of injury we would advise members of the public just to monitor from a safe distance to see if mum returns, as she usually does.”
If you are concerned about a deer you know is orphaned or in danger you can ring the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 for advice. For more information about deer, visit the RSPCA’s website.
This year is a big year for Stapeley Grange, as it’s the centre’s 25th anniversary. Over this time the team would have helped over 130,000 wild, domestic and exotic animals. You can follow Stapeley on Facebook RSPCAstapeleygrange or Twitter: @RSPCAstapeley or @StapeleyCats to find out what events are planned to celebrate this achievement. You can also sign up to Stapeley’s quarterly newsletter here: https://www.rspca.org.uk/stapeleynewsletter