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Park nurses orphaned dear back to health
SHE was only 1.4 kilos when she was found and was severely dehydrated, but rescued baby roe deer Bryony is now recovering and being bottle-fed on goats’ milk three times a day.
Bryony, who is now around nine weeks old, is the second roe deer fawn to be handed in to New Forest Wildlife Park. Just two days old when she was found in May, Bryony was very small and had to be bottle-fed day and night by keepers Lynda Reynolds and Donna Liversedge in their own homes.
But Bryony has now been moved to her own enclosure at the park, near Longdown in the New Forest, and her bottle feeds have been reduced to three times a day.
She has put on weight and will be introduced to the rest of the deer herd when she is stronger. For the time being the other roe, fallow and sika deer, many of which roam freely in the New Forest National Park, can come up to the enclosure fence to greet her from time to time.
Bryony is also making friends with Bracken, a roe deer which was just three days old when she was found by a member of the public in May last year, still with her umbilical cord attached.
Bracken and Bryony are the only roe deer at the park, since roe deer can be extremely difficult to look after in captivity. When rescued from injury or accident roe deer can suffer from post-capture myopathy, a condition where the stress of capture causes muscle breakdown and sudden death.
“We don’t know if Bryony’s mother had abandoned her or had been killed, because deer mothers often leave their fawns hidden somewhere safe while they go off to feed,” said head keeper Shanna Dymond. “If you find a baby deer it is always best to leave it to see if the mother will come back and then check on it later.
“But Bryony was very small and very dehydrated, so we had to act fast. It is lovely to see her looking so much better and we hope to be able to integrate her with the rest of the deer herd soon. She is small and dainty but also very frisky, and she seems to be getting on well with Bracken, so we hope it will all go well for her.”
Donna Liversedge said she enjoyed looking after Bryony at home: “I miss having her at home. She is such fun and got into everything. But she’s better off at the park with the other deer and I’m glad she is looking so healthy,” she said.
The New Forest Wildlife Park is run by Carol and Roger Heap, who have been involved in wildlife conservation for more than 30 years.
The park is involved in international breeding programmes for endangered species and also works with the RSPCA to rescue injured or abandoned animals and, where possible, return them to the wild. Mr and Mrs Heap and several members of their family also run the Chestnut Centre Conservation and Wildlife Park in Derbyshire and Battersea Park Children’s Zoo in London.