Every season a new batch of deer is born on Bowen Island’s Foxglove Farm.
Because it’s increasingly difficult for deer to escape humans on the small island, deer like to retreat to the ranch’s 10 acres overlooking the Vancouver skyline.
“Through the years we’ve developed a good relationship with the local deer,” says owner Daphne Fargher.
The farm grows fruit and berries. Fargher feeds the orchard prunings to the deer and, in exchange, the deer don’t eat her crops.
A couple of weeks ago, about eight new fawns were born on the property. A yearling doe gave birth to twins, one of which had a severe limp.
The mother and twin tried the best they could to nurture the young animal.
“They both were very attentive and helped groom her and kept her in a safe nest under some large trees,” says Fargher.
But the fawn grew weaker and thinner. An eagle took a run at the little deer, and nearly got her.
Foxglove has been raising money for Coast Animal Welfare & Education Society (CAWES) for years and has a close relationship with the society. When the situation looked dire for the young doe, Fargher called CAWES. The local society referred them to the Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley.
The only facility of its kind in southern B.C., the critter society provides short and long-term care and rehabilitation for native mammals. Their mandate is to return healthy animals to the wild and to promote public education.
The deer, dubbed Daisy, was admitted to the facility.
“It was a horrible infection,” Critter Care’s founder and executive director Gail Martin says of the cause of Daisy’s limp.
Daisy could have hurt her leg in many ways, Martin says. “Because they’re babies, their hooves aren’t hard yet. She could have stepped on something or got caught in a wire.”
In many cases, when a young animal is brought into Critter Care being returned to its mother is the best medicine, Martin says. But not in Daisy’s case. She had a large abcess which burst. Unable to walk properly, she was kept in her own enclosure for her own protection until the heavy doses of antibiotics kicked in. Now she’s with another fawn and seems much happier.
“She was lucky,” Martin says of her recovery. “She’s doing well now.”
If Daisy continues to get stronger, she’ll be put into an enclosure with the other young deer being cared for. The plan is to return her to Bowen Island in the fall once her spots are gone.
All told, Critter Care is currently nurturing about 150 animals ranging from river otters to coyote pups to bear cubs. Most come into the society’s care because their mother has been killed.
People can have a chance to meet Daisy and the other critters at the facility’s once-a-year open house on July 21 and 22. You can see the animals only as part of a tour so Martin suggests you get their early. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In the meantime, because the society runs off of donations, Fargher is currently fundraising for Critter Care and to support the care of the fawn. Her cupcake sales from the weekly farmers market on Bowen Island will go toward the deer and the society.
With files from Martha Perkins