Warden, girl help fenced-in fawns find freedom in nearby woodsWarden Scott Thiede was talking to an angler near the Lake Altoona Dam when he answered his cell phone to hear Susan Palm asking for his help with a fawn her well-intended daughter brought to their Eau Claire home from a nearby elementary school yard.
By: By Joanne M. Haas/Bureau of Law Enforcement, Superior Telegram
Warden Scott Thiede was talking to an angler near the Lake Altoona Dam when he answered his cell phone to hear Susan Palm asking for his help with a fawn her well-intended daughter brought to their Eau Claire home from a nearby elementary school yard.
About 25 minutes after he took the call on June 2, Warden Thiede of Eau Claire was welcomed into the Palm home living room where family members, some neighbors, children ages 11 and 8, a baby -- and the fawn -- were gathered.
“After the introductions, I asked about the fawn,” Warden Thiede said. “Mrs. Palm’s daughter had seen two fawns outside Flynn Elementary School on May 31. Her daughter had been checking on them and playing with them, but never saw the doe in the area. So, her daughter decided to bring them home – but she could only catch one.”
Warden Thiede found himself face-to-face with well-intended people who wanted to do the right thing and asked for his help. And he turned to the baby being held and rocked by one of the neighbors.
Warden Thiede talked about how a human baby is cared for by its mother, and a fawn’s mother is known as a doe – also a wild animal. “The fawn has care and diet needs that only its mother – the doe – can provide.”
He also talked about how a doe leaves her fawns in places to protect them from other animals and returns to care for them when people are not in the area. The fact the fawn appeared healthy shows it was not abandoned, he told them.
“The children listened quietly and had no questions,” Warden Thiede said. “The adults and the children seemed to understand the reality of the situation. Everyone agreed to return the fawn to Flynn Elementary.”
And they all headed out to make the delivery. Warden Thiede got in his warden truck and followed the family’s vehicle to Flynn Elementary School. Once near the school, they spotted the second fawn in the grass near the school. They worked together to get both fawns and relocated the two together near the school yard where the doe had placed them.
A few days later, Susan Palm sent a note to Warden Thiede thanking him for his taking the time to meet with all of them on Sunday. “The kids learned a lot that day, as did I,” she wrote.
Warden Thiede says calls like the one from Mrs. Palm are common for wardens and wildlife staffers during the wildlife birth periods. “For some of the callers, this might be the first time they have had a close encounter with wildlife,” he said. “And it is common for people to feel the need to do something for the wildlife newborns in the same way they view the needs of human babies.
“If we choose to interfere in the day-to-day activities of wildlife, we must understand our desire to help may do more harm than good,” Warden Thiede said. “Please leave wild animals to live the life of a wild animal – they would prefer that freedom regardless of the outcome.”