In yet another case of good intentions gone awry, Colorado wildlife officers have euthanized a fawn that was picked up and taken to a shelter by people who mistakenly thought it had been abandoned.
The incident comes just days after a couple at Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon National Park thought they were rescuing a baby deer by wrapping it up in a T-shirt and taking it to rangers, according to The Arizona Republic.
The couple told rangers that the deer walked up to them near a creek and that its mother was nowhere around. Rangers took it back to the creek, and its mother came back for it.
The tourists, on the other hand, face a possible citation for interfering with wildlife.
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Colorado officials are reminding people — again — to leave wildlife alone.
“You pick up a baby critter, and it’s a death sentence for that animal,” Joe Lewandowski, a spokesman for the southwest region of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told 7News in Denver.
The fawn, estimated to be less than a week old, had been “dropped” — hidden by its mother while she went to forage —when someone found it in the La Plata Mountains near Durango, Lewandowski said.
The unidentified individual drove it 30 miles into town to a Durango animal shelter. The humane society, which doesn’t handle wild animals, called state wildlife officers.
Euthanizing the newborn “was the most humane thing we could do,” Lewandowski told 7News in Denver. “Once an animal is that far from its mother, there is no way to bring it back and find her.”
Another Colorado fawn had a close call with humans on Sunday. People were trying to take selfies with the animal near a downtown Durango building when someone picked it up. The deer was able to reconnect with its mother because the people left it there.
There was no such happy ending in May when a baby bison had to be put down at Yellowstone National Park because two Canadian tourists thought it was cold and tried to save it. They put it in the back of an SUV and took it to a ranger station.
The animal had to be euthanized when it was rejected by the herd.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Kyle Davidson told KKTV in Colorado Springs that several animals each year are put down in his state after people interfere.
“It’s also very imperative to remember that they are wild animals. This isn't a fairy tale. We don't live at Disneyland. We live in real life and those animals can hurt you — and you have just as much of an ability to hurt those animals with your actions,” Davidson said.
A teenage girl in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, learned that lesson the hard way last week.
The girl saw a black bear cub in her neighborhood and ran after it. She accidentally cornered it in a fenced-in area as she tried to get it back into the woods, according to WJAC in Johnstown, Penn.
The frightened bear clawed her, superficially scratching the back of her leg, and climbed up a tree. Wildlife conservation officers euthanized the cub to prevent it from harming other wildlife and people.