found a fox?
found a badger?
found an otter?
found a deer?
found a hare
found a hedgehog?
found a squirrel?
found a bird?
found a baby bird?
found a bat?
found a bat?

Wildlife Rehabilitation
COURSE

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Wildlife
Conferences

Conferences

Bird Atlas Survey

www.bto.org/birdatlas

NPWS Road Kill Survey

www.biology.ie

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Deer
Fia Buí / Fia Rua / Fia Seapánach

 

Fallow Deer
Dama dama

Red Deer
Cervus elaphus

Sika Deer
Cervus nippon

Muntjac Deer
Muntiacus reevesi


EMERGENCY SHORT TERM CARE INFO FOR GENERAL PUBLIC

Rehabilitation of wildlife casualties requires a licence and a large investment of time and resources. It is mainly in the animal’s best interest to transfer it to an appropriately trained and equipped individual/organisation as soon as possible.

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty:

  • Observe, assess, discuss, then decide whether intervention is appropriate
  • All wild animals can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries
  • Remember, your own safety is of paramount importance

NEED RESCUING?
CAPTURE
SHORT TERM CARE FAWN



DOES IT NEED RESCUING?

 
HELP NEEDED

  • Road traffic accident casualty
  • A wild deer that will allow you to approach it is sick 
  • Damaged limb/s
  • Obvious wounds
  • Injured fawn
  • Fawn in danger e.g. from dogs/machinery
  • Fawn ONLY IF you’re POSITIVE  it’s been on its own for over 48hrs
  • Trapped or caught e.g. in fence – do NOT cut free and release until fully assessed
  • If unresponsive/unconscious – needs veterinary attention immediately

 
 HELP NOT REQUIRED

  • ALL  APPARENT ORPHANS, (unless injured, in dangerous situation, or definitely alone)
  • Healthy adult deer in garden
  • If you are not equipped
  • If you or others would be put in too much danger           

 
IT DOES NEED RESCUING, WHAT NEXT?
FIRST try to call relevant contact number from CONTACT page for further advice, if unavailable call vet / garda

WANT TO ATTEMPT CAPTURE
General public should only ever attempt capture of baby deer. Adult deer need specialised equipment and personnel

  • Follow capture instructions below
  • Capture ONLY if you have adequate equipment and container
  • Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
  • Bring to a vet if possible, if not bring home temporarily
  • Follow husbandry advice for feeding and housing
  • Call relevant contact number from CONTACT S page for further advice

DON’T WANT TO ATTEMPT CAPTURE

  • If you can approach the animal lay a blanket/coat over the casualty for warmth, cover head
  • If animal is lying on the road, protect it from traffic if possible
  • Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
  • Do not drag the animal off the road, IF safe to do so, lift it to a safe place on a coat/towel
  • Note exact location and call relevant person from CONTACT S page
  • Ideally stay with the animal until help arrives


CAPTURE

Equipment
Blanket, large dog carrier

CAPTURE - ADULT DEER
Capture of adult deer requires specialised equipment and personnel
General public are advised to call relevant person on CONTACTS page to deal with the situation
 (for adult capture notes see rehabbers section)

CAPTURE - BABY DEER (fawn or calf depending on species)

Alone, lying down, head up, bright and alert ?

  • First observe from a distance, using binoculars, to see if the mother returns
  • (Mothers leave their fawns alone for up to 10 hours at a time when they go off to feed)
  • Do not disturb unless in imminent danger from dogs or machinery
  • If still worried, check for injury. Do NOT touch at this stage
  • If still unsure, call relevant number from the contacts page for further advice

Ideally vet/ rehabilitator can come and assess the fawn’s condition in person
If not, assess fawn’s condition with vet/rehabilitator over the phone
If decision is made to capture the fawn, follow instructions below:

  • Wrap up in towel/jumper. Tuck legs underneath. Slide into large dog carrier

Alone, injured or remains lying with head on ground when disturbed, weak, cold, sick looking ?

  • May have lost its mother to dogs or been abandoned because sick
  • Needs rescuing if definitely hasn’t been fed by the mother for over 10 hours

Ideally vet/ rehabilitator can come and assess the fawn’s condition in person
If not, assess fawn’s condition with vet/rehabilitator over the phone
If decision is made to capture the fawn, follow instructions below:

  • Wrap up in towel/jumper. Tuck legs underneath. Slide into large dog carrier

Capture notes
Crouch down when approaching – you appear less of a threat
Approach slowly; stopping if animal appears ready to flee
The fawn will probably be under 5 days of age if able to be caught

TRANSPORTATION
Sturdy carrier –solid secure ventilated container
Dog carrier/puppy crate
Avoid direct sunlight – danger of overheating    
Cover container with towel, darkness will reduce stress

HANDLING
Do not handle unnecessarily
Once captured do not try to calm animal by talking to it
Cover the eyes when handling to reduce stress
If carrying fawn be aware legs can flail and kick

fawn transport
 
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue

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SHORT TERM CARE FAWN

See SUPPLIES page for food and equipment mentioned below

Step by Step:

  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • Stimulate to urinate/defecate
  • Provide fluids

Weighing
Easiest method is to hold the fawn in your arms and stand on bathroom scales, deduct your own weight. Weight will give an idea of age, species, feeding quantities, health status

Housingfawn
Most importantly- warmth, quiet and dark or dim lighting
Keep indoors, in a quiet, warm, draught free, darkened place, away from children and domestic animals
Keep indoors, in a quiet, warm, darkened place, away from children and domestic animals
Small space, just large enough for fawn to stand up and turn around
Large dog carrier if small fawn, alternatively a blocked off corner of a room or deep container
Use towels for bedding
Important to have non-s lip surface for fawn to stand safely

Warmth
Fawns are often chilled and wet; the mother normally dries them within an hour of birth
The fawn will die if not dried and warmed so it feels warm to the touch
Rub it briskly with a warm dry towel and keep it in a warm room
A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel should be put in the container with the fawn initially
Beware overheating can also kill so give enough space that the fawn can move away from the heat if necessary
If the fawn is cold it will be unwilling to feed

Toileting
VERY IMPORTANT!
Fawns need help urinating and defecating
Before and after each feed gently stroke their genital and anal area with damp cotton wool for about 60 seconds until urine and/or faeces is produced
Toileting seems to act as a stimulant to start suckling

FEEDING

Glucose solution/ ‘milk’

  • Ideally glucose solution for first feed e.g. 4 teaspoons of glucose in 100ml warm water
  • Subsequent feeds; 1 tablespoonful of glucose and the yolk of an egg in one litre of cow’s milk
    Or
  • Homemade Rehydration solution - “1 pinch of sugar and 1 pinch of salt in 1 cup of warm water” ONLY until you can source the ingredients above

ALL feeds should be lukewarm
(most supermarkets will sell glucose powder in the baking section)
Only handle for feeding (for frequency see below)
Remember toileting seems to act as a stimulant to start suckling

DANGERAspiration Pneumonia – inhaling fluid into the lungs
If a bubble of liquid appears at the nose or the fawn starts sneezing or shaking its head, stop feeding immediately and tilt the head down allow any fluid to drain out. Dab with tissue, take a break, and then start again very slowly

Preventative measures:

  • Use rehydration solution for the first few feeds while you and the fawn get used to feeding
  • Feed with fawn standing on all four feet, and leaning slightly forward, and with you straddling it and bending over to feed it (simulating mother’s position)
  • Keep bottle at 45 degree angle and guide it into fawn’s mouth initially
  • Try to get the fawn to suck the fluids slowly rather than guzzling
  • Always feed patiently, slowly and gently

Take to vet for antibiotics and other respiratory drugs if fawn inhales fluids and starts coughing for an extended period of time, breathing heavily or breathing with mouth open

Introducing ‘milk’
1st feed – glucose or rehydration solution
2nd feed – ˝ glucose or rehydration solution, ˝ milk mixture
3rd feed – milk mixture
4th feed – milk mixture
Feeding Deer
 
© Emma Higgs

Bottles/equipment

  • Human baby bottle if fawn large enough

Identification
Baby deer of different species appear very similar
IF in doubt use fawn's weight rather than species as a guide for feeding
Feed smaller rather than larger quantity

Fallow Fawn Muntjac deer
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue
© Sarefo, Wikimedia Commons
Fallow fawn
Muntjac adult
   
Sika fawn Red deer with fawn
© Jim Walsh
© BS Thurner Hof
Sika calf
Red deer adult and calf

Quantity & Frequency  (ROUGH guide)

Weight *

Species

Quantity per feed

Frequency

7 kg

Red

175 ml

4 feeds per day

4 kg

Fallow

80 ml

5 feeds per day

3 kg

Sika

60 ml

5 feeds per day

1.8 kg

Muntjac

36 ml

5 feeds per day

*Approximated weight based on the assumption that the fawn will be 2-5 days of age and underweight for its age

Theoretically fawns may be fed up to 10% of body weight per day, depending on appetite
Table above is ROUGH guide, each individual is different
Fawn will not necessarily stop drinking when it has had the correct amount
Too little is better than too much
If they are unwilling to wake up and feed, extend the gap between feeds by ½ hour
Never feed an animal so much fluid that its tummy becomes hard and distended

Digestion/ Winding
After feeding, rub the fawn’s belly for a few minutes

Hygiene
Keep feeding utensils in a deep bowl of sterilising solution e.g. Milton
Use clean feeding utensils for each feed
After use, dismantle feeding equipment and clean thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse, then replace in the sterilising bowl
Rinse utensils before each feed

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LONGER TERM CARE INFO FOR REHABILITATORS

Rehabilitation of wildlife casualties requires a licence and a large investment of time and resources. It is mainly in the animal’s best interest to transfer it to an appropriately trained and equipped individual/organisation as soon as possible.

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty:

  • Observe, assess, discuss, then decide whether intervention is appropriate
  • All wild animals can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries
  • Remember, your own safety is of paramount importance
HUSBANDRY ADULT
HUSBANDRY FAWN
RELEASE
LEGISLATION



Read GENERAL PUBLIC section first. Extra information for long term husbandry below


CAPTURE - ADULT DEER


Capture of adult deer requires specialised equipment and personnel
General public are advised to call relevant person on CONTACTS page to deal with the situation

The necessity of capture must be carefully assessed before steps are taken to do so. If the deer is still mobile despite what look like severe injuries, is still able to eat and isn’t visually impaired, consideration must be taken as to whether the stress of capture and hospitalisation could potentially do more damage.

Equipment
As many people as possible, minimum of 2, long handled large nets, netting, soft ropes, dart gun/pole syringe, suitable crate for small deer, horse box (red deer), stretcher, blindfold e.g. bandaging material/blanket

Drugs – atipamezole, ketamine, diazepam, suitable alpha-2 adrenergic agonist sedative (xylazine, detomidine, medetomidine). Etorphine/diprenorphine - ONLY if experienced with this drug

Entanglement capture (e.g. caught in fencing)
Ideally vet/ rehabilitator can come and assess the deer’s condition in person
If not, assess deer’s condition with vet/rehabilitator over the phone

  • DO NOT CUT FREE AND IMMEDIATELY RELEASE!

If, and only if, after discussion with the vet/ rehabilitator, all are satisfied that there has been no serious physical damage to the deer, i.e. no fencing material has become embedded in or put pressure on the animal, e.g. fencing only caught deer by antlers, then it may be released

  •  If worried/unsure, continue capture (as below) and bring to vet for assessment
  • Can be very lively so may need sedation before rescuing
  • Throw a towel over head
  • Sedate via dart, pole syringe, or by hand
  • Person one supports the sedated animal
  • Person two cuts wire so animal can be rescued, along with any embedded fencing section/snare
  • lift onto stretcher and strap down
  • Keep deer lying either on its right hand side or in ventral recumbency
  • Transport and initial treatment can be carried out whilst on stretcher

RTA casualty rescue (if immobile)

  • Can be very lively so may need sedation before rescuing (see above)
  • Throw a towel over head
  • Restrain by holding deer to the ground
  • Person one restrains head and neck, use antlers to restrain, care if in velvet
  • Person two restrains the back end to prevent kicking
  • Roll / lift onto stretcher and strap down
  • Keep deer lying either on its right hand side or in ventral recumbency
  • Transport and initial treatment can be carried out whilst on stretcher

Net capture (if mobile muntjac)

  • ONLY useful for small deer, muntjac
  • Large long-handled nets can be tried if narrow escape route for deer
  • Alternatively a "walk-towards" net (similar to a tennis net) may be used for catching
  • Ideally position net out of sight of the deer
  • A large group of people ‘herders’ will be needed to run the deer quickly into the net
  • Once caught in net, restrain as quickly as possible to prevent deer struggling and sustaining further injury
  • Hold to the ground by the shoulders and rump
  • Mild sedation may be needed to reduce stress and risk of injury to deer or handlers
  • If carrying deer, hold around its body and control head. Beware of sharp thrashing hooves
  • If deer small enough, transport in carrying box

Capture notes

  • Injured deer will normally be nervous, difficult to catch and handle, and can potentially sustain further injury during capture e.g. fractures or antler damage, especially when antlers are in velvet
  • Male deer especially with antlers or tusks, can be very dangerous to catch. Sika deer can bite, and muntjac have large potentially dangerous canines
  • If severely injured or in shock, handling may be relatively simple, those that are not so severely injured may require sedation for capture
  • Careful assessment of the condition of the deer must be considered before choosing a capture and restraint plan
  • Deer are easily stressed, can quickly go into shock, and are candidates for capture myopathy (paralysis, respiratory or cardiac arrest) especially if they overheat or struggle excessively. Sedation will often be necessary to deal with these situations
  • Sedation contraindicated if deer is already in shock
  • Crouch down when approaching – you appear less of a threat
  • Approach slowly, stopping if animal appears ready to flee
  • Once captured do not try to calm animal by talking to it
  • Do not handle unnecessarily
restraining deer deer transport box
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue

TRANSPORTATION
Fawns /muntjac deer - Dog carrier or specially designed tall, narrow container
Straw or towel underfoot for grip and padding
Large deer – sedated and strapped to stretcher in large vehicle
Large mobile lightly sedated deer – horse box
Cover eyes to reduce stress
Ventilation
Avoid direct sunlight – danger of overheating    
                 
In the case of an injured adult red deer, due to its large size, it would be advisable to first contact a veterinary surgery equipped for equine patients, to find out if they would be willing to treat the deer

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HUSBANDRY ADULT

Housing - Indoors
Deer are easily stressed. Rear in quiet secluded area e.g. small shed
Housing area should provide roughly two square meters per deer
Vitamin D - provide natural light or a light source mimicking daylight hours
Smooth, solid walls and confined space help prevent injury
Bedding - clean, dry, dust free straw with hay on top. No sawdust - inhalation problems
Calf mats, and a sloping floor under the bedding enables drainage
Heat lamps should be available
Ventilation for hot days
Double stable door with spy hole

Deer housing Deer examination
© Becki Lawson
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue

Housing - Outdoors
Once treatment has finished, either release straight from shed or move to secure outdoor paddock until ready for release
Paddock requirements:
2 metre high ‘sprung’ deer fencing
Selection of shelters with feeding troughs
Mineral block in feeding trough in shelter
Fresh drinking water
Ideally other deer for company
Variety of grass and vegetation for grazing
An anti-cage/double-gate entrance to decrease the risk of escape
Quiet secluded area with natural screening for the deer to hide
Paddock ideally situated in an area suitable for soft release from the paddock itself
Designed with capture in mind, e.g. doors on feeding shelters, shutes/races etc
Recreate natural habitat – enrichment

flexible deer fencing rigid deer fencing
© John Casey
© John Casey

Feeding
Grass for grazing
Browse cut from hedgerows/trees
Goat mix
Hay
Alfalfa
Calf muesli
If on antibiotics add pro-biotic e.g. Vetrumex

Anorexia can lead to quick decline. Try:
Fresh young bramble leaves
Small amount of pear
Or if serious anorexia, and you have to hand !, you can try the suggestion below

  • Stomach tube the rumen contents of a road killed deer into the rumen of the anorexic deer (freeze rumen contents when otherwise healthy deer die e.g. RTA casualties)

ONLY feed fruit, greens and carrots OCCASIONALLY as a treat. Will prefer these and potentially reject more balanced diet.
Fruit can cause fermentation bloat

 


HUSBANDRY – FAWN

Hand-rearing should not be undertaken unless:

  • The fawn will be kept as wild as possible
  • Suitable accommodation facilities will be provided
  • It is understood that it will require a commitment of about 4-6 months

Extra info for long term husbandry:

Fawns born by caesarean section may need to be hand reared, monitor closely

Weight
Weigh same time each day
Weight loss or static weight is an early indicator of underlying problems
Daily weight gain for Red deer should be roughly 350g, weekly 2kg

Housing
Deer are easily stressed. Rear in quiet secluded area e.g. small shed
Rearing areas should provide at least one square meter per fawn
Vitamin D (from sunlight) is essential; provide natural light or a light source mimicking daylight hours
Smooth, solid walls and confined space help prevent injury
Bedding - clean, dry, dust free straw with layer of hay on top. No sawdust - inhalation problems
Calf mats under the bedding enables drainage
Heat lamps should be available
Ventilation for hot days
Double stable door with spy hole are useful
Slowly acclimatise fawn to outdoor temperature before moving to outdoor enclosure

Once fully weaned, move to secure outdoor enclosure until ready for release at about four months of age. See Housing – Outdoors in the husbandry- Adult section above

Warmth
Ideally use direct, radiant heat, e.g. heat lamp, and focus over the chest. Care with height placement of lamp
Regularly check on fawn as once revived they become active and heat lamp may need repositioning
Always provide enough space so the fawn can move away from heat

Feeding
Saturated glucose solution for first feed e.g. 4 teaspoons of glucose in 100ml warm water
Subsequent feeds; 1 tablespoonful of glucose and the yolk of an egg in one litre of cow’s milk
Rehydration fluids need only be used in scouring individuals

Orphaned fawns should receive as much colostrums as they’ll drink, within the first 12 hours of life
Use lamb feeding tube until the youngster is strong enough to resist tube feeding in which case the bottle can be introduced
Fawns often prefer old fashioned rubber bottle nipples to the new silicone ones
Some individuals will never take to the bottle but will feed from a bowl

Quantity
May be fed 10% body weight per day
Roughly 20ml/kg/feed for 4 to 6 feeds daily
Gradually increase volume fed per feed
Avoid overfeeding; fawns won't necessarily self-limit their milk intake
Maximum 3-4% of body weight at any one feed
Feed little and often

Weaning
At 3 weeks of age – in addition to milk feeds, offer goat mix, dandelions, clover, young bramble leaves
Goat mix made more palatable with added grated pears
Encourage fawn to drink from bowl and then always leave fresh water available
Decrease milk feeds as fawn begins readily eating solids
Weaning should be finished at 6 – 8 weeks of age

Records
Routine records should be maintained of daily weight, times of each feed, quantities of milk consumed, urine/faeces production and general condition/demeanour

Faeces
Newborn faeces (meconium) - dark, putty-like 
Up to two/three weeks - yellow, soft, sticky faeces, not formed
Two/three weeks onwards - firm dark pellets

If bad faeces - withdraw food for 24hrs, give only rehydration fluids
Sterilise all feeding equipment and slowly reintroduce milk formula
Seek veterinary attention if faeces continue to look abnormal after 24hrs

Imprinting
Easily done, potentially prevent release.
Ideally rear more than one of a species together.
Use a bottle rack to feed deer once they get the hang of bottle feeds – reduces human contact
Always have the same person caring for the fawn
KEEP HUMAN CONTACT TO ABSOLUTE MINIMUM

  • Male hand reared deer
Male deer can become extremely dangerous if, through hand rearing, they become imprinted
Most hand reared male deer will unfortunately become imprinted and should then NOT be released
If he is not going to be released - castrate him between August and December when the testicles have dropped and the antlers have not yet started growing. Remove the antlers every year
Castration is to prevent later aggression, and otherwise the antler will remain in velvet and will be subject to regular damage with infection and fly strike
Bottle feeding rack
 
© Red Creek Wildlife Center, ('Rescuing Wildlife' Peggy Hentz)
Parasites
Prophylactic worming with ivermectin to combat the potential stress-induced overburden of parasites

Terminology
Red and Sika Deer: Male – stag, female – hind, young – calves
Fallow and Muntjac : Male – buck, female – doe, young – fawns, male without antlers - hummel

 

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RELEASE

Always seek advice from specialist organisations with knowledge of suitable release sites/habitat.

Careful assessment and appropriate health checks should be carried out prior to release, as to the risks of released animals introducing new diseases into the wild population/environment.

Release criteria/considerations
Need to be wild – wary/scared of humans, domestic animals and any other natural predators
Must be physically fit, mentally sound, stable body weight for over 7 days
Can’t be released if underweight, unable to recognise/eat normal diet etc
Must be of an appropriate weight for the age, sex, and time of year for the species
Do not release in winter unless it has sufficient body weight to cope with the cold
Ideally return to original location unless dangerous or unsuitable
Release away from roads, species specific predators, areas where they could cause damage
Consider natural history of the animal and the location of local wild groups of these animals
Release during a period of favourable weather.
Ideally identify animal in some way e.g. tag, for post release monitoring/identification

Preferred habitat
Secluded upland areas, grassy hillsides bordering woodlands with shrubby undergrowth for shelter and feeding

HARD RELEASE (direct release)
Adults

Hard release technique
The animal is simply allowed to exit a transport container with no further care or feed provision.

Hard release candidates
Hard release technique only suitable if animal rescued as an adult and only if in captivity for short period of time, and only if to be released where originally found.
 
Release timing
Release deer as soon as possible (days rather than weeks), they become severely stressed in a captive environment.
Consider the possible benefits of releasing deer with minor wounds that have been treated. (bear in mind myiasis / infection)
Delayed release may result in the deer losing its territory or its place in the social group
Preferably release in late autumn of the year they were found, when food available, breeding finished and natural dispersal starting. Or early spring the following year
Minimum of 4mths of age
If deer have to be released into areas of high hunting pressure, better to release in spring to allow animals to acclimatise to a wild existence before the start of the hunting season

Species specific considerations
Deer fit for release will be strong and difficult to handle.
Large deer in paddocks may require tranquillisation by dart for transport to the release site.
Fallow and Red deer will need a box trailer, horse box, or similar vehicle for release 
Small deer may fit in transport box
Large deer may need sedation and horse box for transportation to release site
Return to original location unless dangerous – hunting, main road, away from natural habitat.
Release of an adult deer to the rescue location after a long period of captivity can be dangerous as deer may have lost its territory or place in social group. Consider soft/hard release in another location.

Technique
Ideally return to exact location animal was rescued
Open carrying cage and let animal leave in its own time
Release from transport container at dawn and leave

 

SOFT RELEASE (gentle or gradual release)
Fawns (sometimes adults)

Soft release technique
Soft release aims to slowly reintroduce the animal to the wild while still in a comfort zone e.g. cage it was reared in, and allow the animal to leave the cage once confident and independent
It involves continuing to care for animals at the release site, and aims to compensate for difficulties of newly released animals finding food and shelter in a new environment

Soft release candidates
Essential release method for hand reared animals
Also suitable for adults that have been in care for a long period of time, or animals that cannot be released back to where they were found and so have to establish a new territory

Release timing
Preferably release in late autumn of the year they were found, when food available, breeding finished and natural dispersal starting, or early spring the following year
Minimum of 4mths of age

Species specific considerations
Deer fit for release will be strong and difficult to handle
Small deer may fit in transport box
Do not release tame deer, especially hand reared stags or bucks - serious danger to the public
Obtain landowners permission if soft release planned on their land

Technique
Temporary cage placed in release location
Sheltered sleeping area placed within caged area, fawn provided with water and food, at dusk, in the enclosure, for 2-4 weeks
Animal fed only natural foods it will come across in the wild (locally available browse for browsers and access to grass for grazers)
Cage opened and left in-situ for animal to come and go until it feels confident enough not to return
Food provided, decreasing in quantity, until the animal no longer returns
Soft release may take weeks – months

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LEGISLATION

“The Minister may grant a licence to a person to have in possession, for a reasonable period of time —

  • an injured or disabled protected wild animal, or
  • one or more than one dependant young of a protected wild animal which is orphaned, with the intention of tending and later releasing such animal or young back into the wild when and only when such animal or young, as the case may be, is no longer injured, disabled or dependant, or
  • to retain possession of a protected wild animal, that for reasons of disability or for other reasons deemed reasonable by the Minister, would, if released, be unlikely to survive unaided in the wild.”

*Compulsory licence details at end of document*

Let us not waste time complaining about the excessive bureaucratic legislation covering wildlife today. The intent was to provide protection for wildlife and the data is valuable.

If we don’t want to be legislated upon, or don’t like current legislation, we must offer legislative solutions. Apply for your licences but also email  your ideas for a more practicable solution for ‘policing wildlife rehabilitation’ in Ireland, to info@irishwildlifematters.ie

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has
.”  (Margaret Mead)

 

DEER

Red Deer
Status
Irish Wildlife Act 1976 and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 - protected species
Berne Convention, Appendix 3
Irish Red Data book – least concern
Wildlife (N.I.) Order of 1985 – protected species
Deer Act 1991

Fallow Deer
Status
Irish Wildlife Act 1976 and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 - protected species
Irish Red Data book – least concern
Wildlife (N.I.) Order of 1985 – protected species

Sika Deer
Status
Irish Wildlife Act 1976 and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 - protected species
Irish Red Data book – not assessed
Wildlife (N.I.) Order of 1985 – protected species

Exemptions
Classified as a game or quarry species and may be hunted during the open season, with a licence from NPWS (RoI) or Department of the Environment (N.I)
Red deer may not be killed by means other than shooting or hunting with hounds (RoI and N.I) during the open season. Only certain types of guns and ammunition may be used.
The Minister may grant a licence to capture or kill for educational, scientific or other purposes

Safeguards
Hunting of male Red deer prohibited in County Kerry
Shooting of wildlife for pleasure or sport is not permitted in National Parks or Nature Reserves owned by the State
Deer licence(s) may be refused for conservation reasons if they would impact adversely on local deer populations

Rescue and Rehabilitation
Due to their status as a protected species, a *licence MUST be applied for to the NPWS ‘to possess/retain an injured or disabled wild bird/animal’

Release
Subject to the conditions set out in the licence provided for the possession/retention of a wild animal
(N.I) You must not release any non-native species of bird or animal into the wild unless you obtain a licence to do so (including foreign animals that have become established here, e.g. grey squirrel / mink/muntjac)

Notes
Report suspicious activities or equipment to the NPWS Conservation Ranger (see CONTACTS page)

NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE SERVICE– 2009/2010 HUNTING SEASONS FOR DEER SPECIES

    SPECIES   OPEN SEASON   LOCATION
Red Male   1 Sept to 31 Dec   Throughout the State
  exclusive of County Kerry
Red Female & Antlerless Deer*   1 Nov to 28 Feb   Throughout the State
Sika Male   1 Sept to 31 Dec   Throughout the State
Sika Female & Antlerless Deer*   1 Nov to 28 Feb   Throughout the State
Fallow Male   1 Sept to 31 Dec   Throughout the State
Fallow Female & Antlerless Deer*   1 Nov to 28 Feb   Throughout the State
Muntjac Deer   1 Sept to 31Aug   Throughout the State

*Antlerless deer will be construed as including any male deer without antlers, of less than one year, i.e. a calf.

 

* For licence application form for the possession/ retention of a wild animal - click HERE

Post to the address below OR email back to wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie

Wildlife Licensing Unit,
National Parks and Wildlife Service,
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht,
7 Ely Place,
Dublin 2

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This legislation section is not intended to cover all aspect of legislation associated with this particular wildlife species, in all instances, the current legislation and appropriate statutory bodies should be consulted

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VETERINARY SECTION - COMMON CONDITIONS

THIS SECTION IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR VETERINARY SURGEONS

DISEASES
TRAUMA
PARASITES
OTHER
EUTHANASIA



DISEASES

  • Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)

Clinical Signs - blistering of the lips, mouth, tongue, nose, teats and hooves
Diagnosis – blood test
Treatment – euthanasia of infected and exposed animals
Comments – only one case of FMD in cattle in ROI in 2001, no reports of FMD in deer in UK or ROI. FMD is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hooved animals

  • Enteritis

Clinical Signs – diarrhoea, can be haemorrhagic, dehydration, thin, collapse, sudden death
Diagnosis – faecal sample
Treatment – fluids, oxytetracycline, ivermectin
Comments – mainly bacterial, can be parasite overburden

  • Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis)

Clinical Signs – no specific signs, emaciation, collapsed
Diagnosis – if suspicious, blood must be taken and tested by vet
Treatment – euthanasia
Comments – zoonosis. Deer can also suffer from M. avium

  • Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis)

Clinical Signs – thick bloody diarrhoea, emaciation, intermandibular oedema, dehydration
Diagnosis – if suspicious, blood must be taken and tested by vet
Treatment – euthanasia
Comments – zoonosis. Deer can also suffer from M. Avium.  Signs often only apparent two years after initial infection

 


TRAUMA

The necessity of capture must be carefully assessed before steps are taken to do so. If the deer is still mobile despite what look like severe injuries, is still able to eat and isn’t visually impaired, consideration must be taken as to whether the stress of capture and hospitalisation could potentially do more damage.

  • Road Traffic Accident
Clinical Signs - commonly fractures; mainly front legs, pelvis and spine
Diagnosis – examination and radiographs
Treatment – stabilise, assessment, surgery or euthanasia. Analgesia – carprofen, flunixin, if no head trauma buprenorphine can be used
Comments – remove metalwork before release. See euthanasia section if amputation necessary. If in sternal recumbence and head floppy/swaying – animal dying. Lateral recumbency – bad prognosis
RTA deer
 
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue
  • Fractures

Analgesia – flunixin. Carprofen (long half-life, give only every 48hrs)
Antibiotics – potentiated sulphonamides or long acting oxytetracycline

Leg fractures
Compound fracture; IntraSite dressing in situ, at triage irrigate, temporarily suture skin over open wound, moist dressing, cast temporarily, veterinary assessment once stable
Simple fracture; align, immobilise, veterinary assessment once stable
Monteggia fracture; needs immediate veterinary attention
Surgery; External fixation / intramedullary pinning preferred - casts slip and cause pressure sores
Arthodesis or amputation – consider release implications before surgery. Some would suggest surgery shouldn’t be undertaken unless it will be an amputation and prompt release
Notes
Antler hypertrophy seems to occur after limb fracture in male deer. Don’t release into wild
Above carpus and tarsus can, according to some, be left to heal without treatment, apparently
weight bearing on the limb after a month
Below carpus and tarsus may slough, stump may become infected. Amputation required, either at humerus or femur. Saw the bone, don’t use bone cutters

Pelvic fracture
Confinement and rest or surgery if feasible. Neuter female if planning to release
Check all females, especially muntjac deer, for foetus and perform caesarean section if necessary

Jaw fracture
Reduction and stabilisation from inside mouth. Correct alignment essential

Skull fracture
Fracture of the base of the antler, below the pedicle in the stem. Stabilise by binding to opposing stem using resin casting tape. If both stems fractured, support using tape under the jaw. Suture any torn velvet

  • Bite wounds

Clinical Signs – heat, swelling, pain, puncture wound or laceration, abdomen, neck or head common. Fawns – fractured skulls, fatal brain damage
Diagnosis – clinical signs, radiography
Treatment – stem any bleeding, IntraSite gel, long acting amoxicillin/daily enrofloxacin. Treat for shock, stabilise for 24hrs then re-asses wound and treatment. Do not suture
Comments - likely Pasteurella multocida infection. Often pet dog attack or mauled by foxhounds
Non dog wounds - fresh deep wounds – lavage, suture (absorbable), topical chlortetracycline

Gunshot wounds – retrieving bullets unnecessary. Check for blindness if frontal wound

  • Ligature wounds/Entrapment

Clinical Signs – injury to the limb, skin lesions, underlying severed blood vessels, ligaments, tendons
Diagnosis – found stuck in railings, fence, snare or netting
Treatment –analgesics and antibiotics. Aggressive fluid therapy. Hydrogel dressings, dermisol cleaning. Possibly mid femur amputation or arthrodesis of the fetlock
Comments – keep for at least 7 days to monitor for pressure necrosis or self mutilation

Deer caught in fence Deer with ligature wound
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue
  • Antler damage

Clinical Signs – increased mobility on manipulation, deformity of antlers
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment – amputation or, if external shell intact and bone core fractured, stabilise by binding antlers together. If in velvet, tourniquet for haemostasis. Local/GA
Comments – check for skull fractures

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PARASITES

Routine prophylactic treatment with ivermectin recommended as stress can predispose to overburden of parasites

  • Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi)

Clinical Signs – none
Diagnosis – no specific test
Treatment – unnecessary
Comments –zoonosis spread via sheep tick Ixodes ricinus See GP if you develop pyrexia and circular, red, swollen area of skin. Highly unlikely to contract Lyme disease from deer as deer is last stage of tick’s life

 


OTHER

  • Post-capture myopathy / exertional rhabdomyolysis

Clinical Signs –hyperventilation, torticollis, depression, pyrexia, convulsions, death
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment – preventative. Treat for shock on arrival and attention to husbandry advice
Comments – cardiac and skeletal necrosis from stressful physical exertion. All captured wild deer susceptible, or those chased by dogs. Can occur up to 4wks post capture

  • Arthritis

Clinical Signs – difficulty or inability to walk
Diagnosis – radiography
Treatment – euthanasia must be considered
Comments – muntjac joints prone to luxation and subsequent arthritis. Affects young and old deer

  • Collapsed

Clinical Signs – torticollis, depression, pyrexia, convulsions, death
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment – preventative. Treat for shock on arrival and attention to husbandry advice
Comments – cardiac and skeletal necrosis from stressful physical exertion. All captured wild deer susceptible. Can occur up to 4wks post capture

 


EUTHANASIA

Candidates

  • No quality of life when recovered
  • Amputation of any one leg necessary in male deer
  • Amputation of two legs
  • Amputation of front leg in female deer
  • Chronic arthritis or predisposition to arthritis, in more than one leg
  • Fractured spine
  • Permanent jaw damage
  • Blind
  • Recumbent due to gunshot wound
  • Open abdominal or thoracic wound

Drug

  • Pentobarbital sodium

Technique

  • Sedation then IV injection
  • IV into cephalic or lateral saphenous or jugular vein
  • If you insist on shooting, you must obliterate the brainstem at the base of the skull. Shoot from the side of the head at the base of the ear. A 0.240 calibre rifle must be used

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VETERINARY SECTION

THIS SECTION IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR VETERINARY SURGEONS

VETERINARY DRUGS & DOSAGES TABLE

ANATOMY
INJECTION SITES
NORMAL PARAMETERS
HANDLING FOR EXAMINATION
ADMISSION PROCEDURES
ANAESTHESIA



ANATOMY

Deer Anatomy


INJECTION SITES

SC

between shoulder blades

IM

quadriceps or lumbar

IO

 

IP

to the right of midline at the level of the umbilicus

IV

cephalic, saphenous or jugular

PO

in food

 


NORMAL PARAMETERS

Temperature (°C)

40

Pulse rate (beats per minute)

80 +/- 13

Respiratory rate  (breaths per minute)

27 +/- 8.5

 


HANDLING FOR EXAMINATION

Serious risk of stress, shock and capture myopathy, especially if allowed to struggle

  • Ideally observe discreetly before examination; wildlife hide injuries
  • Deer’s eyes should be kept covered at all times whilst being handled
  • Sedation / general anaesthesia is generally required for examination and treatment of Red, Fallow and Sika deer, BUT unnecessary or contraindicated if deer already in shock
  • Antlers can be used to restrain head. Pad and wrap them to prevent injury. Care if in velvet
  • Large sedated/shocked deer can be examined on stretcher that they arrive on, with gentle but firm physical restraint available, either in hospital building or in stall/stable
  • Muntjac are very nervous, easily stressed and prone to capture myopathy. Physical restraint could be used for quick minor treatment but treatment is often more successful if sedated and suspended in a tailor made stretcher/trolley that maintains the deer in sternal recumbancy at trolley height, and allows access to the limbs as they protrude through the stretcher
  • Deer should be moved to their stall/stable as soon as possible, and allowed to recover from sedation/GA in a quiet, dark, padded, warm environment. Monitor recovery
Deer restraint Deer restraint with antlers
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue


ADMISSION PROCEDURES

  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • If fawn; stimulate to urinate/defecate
  • Fluids
  • Drugs

RTA casualties will often be suffering volume related shock, treat as below

TREATMENT FOR SHOCK

  • Warmth (stop animal loosing heat, warm slowly)
  • IV fluids – Hartmann’s or Haemaccel (keep muzzle on to prevent chewing IV line)
  • Oxygen as required
  • Analgesia (if head trauma do not use buprenorphine , finadyne or carprofen)

Steroids (ONLY if CNS trauma e.g. ‘Solu medrone V’ or dexamethasone)
Antibiotics if appropriate, IV
After treatment for shock, attend to conditions that are life threatening or could worsen over 24hrs

Assess every few hours. As soon as stable, sedate, examine thoroughly, and decide on a treatment plan or euthanise as appropriate

 


ANAESTHESIA

Maintain in sternal recumbency at all times during general anaesthesia
position in right lateral if sternal recumbence impractical never position in dorsal recumbency - regurgitation, asphyxiation / aspiration pneumonia , death

DO NOT use etorphine + acepromazine (Immobilon [LA], C-Vet) in FALLOW deer - cardiac arrests
Elevate head
Intubate
Suction - excessive salivation
Stomach tube - bloat 
Monitor body temperature 
Induction important – quiet, dark, adequate time

Premedication
Xylazine
Induction
Ketamine and diazepam
Maintenance
Isoflurane

 

Oral antimicrobials discouraged – digestion disturbances in rumen

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equipment Basic wildlife rescue equipmnt

• Strong box
• Pet carrier / cage
• Towels
• Thick gloves