Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Fri, Oct. 30

Baby fawn returned to mother at Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon
Visitors to park pick up fawn after assuming it had been abandoned, rangers return animal to mother and remind visitors to leave wildlife alone

Visitors to Phantom Ranch brought this fawn to rangers, thinking it had been abandoned. Photo/NPS

Visitors to Phantom Ranch brought this fawn to rangers, thinking it had been abandoned. Photo/NPS

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - After a baby fawn was picked up by visitors at Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP), the park is reminding the public that wildlife is wild and for their safety and the public's, wildlife should be left alone.

The people mistakenly thought the baby deer was abadoned,

"This is a really good time to remind everybody that there are baby deer and elk around right now and if they look like they're abandoned or left alone - they're not. Mom is almost always nearby," said Emily Davis, a spokesperson for GCNP. "She communicates to them using various calls and sounds that we cannot interpret."

According to Davis, visitors at Phantom Ranch, in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, saw the fawn by itself and said it approached them and they thought it needed help.

"They picked it up, wrapped it in a T-shirt and took it to the Phantom Ranch Ranger Station," Davis said. "The ranger on duty called a Wildlife Biologist on the South Rim asking what to do and he said the mom was no doubt nearby and said to take the fawn back to the location."

Davis said the ranger followed the biologist's instructions and shortly thereafter the mom reunited with the fawn.

According to Davis, this type of incident is rare at Grand Canyon.

"It might happen but we don't hear about it or it doesn't get reported," she said. "This is the first one that has been in the public eye."

Davis said if a baby animal is found, it is best to leave it alone.

"Leave it where it is," she said. "The mother will come around shortly. That's the safest and best thing to do for everyone involved - animals and humans."

Grand Canyon is diligent in posting signs throughout the park to discourage human-animal encounters. More often than not, squirrels and elk are the most common for human - wildlife encounters at the Canyon. Additionally, Davis said during many of the daily ranger programs rangers talk to visitors about wildlife and remind visitors to keep their distance.

"Something we talk about too, especially with larger animals, is to keep a safe distance," Davis said. "A safe distance can be gauged by what we call the rule of thumb. If you extend your arm out in front of your face and stick your thumb up like you're going to hitchhike and completely cover up the animal with that thumb, as you're looking at it, you're a safe distance. If however, your thumb does not cover up the animal, you're too close and should back away."

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