The 501c3 Files
By Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle
As Seen in the Ashland Sneak Preview
If You Care, Leave Them There.
Southern Oregon Animal Rescue: S.O.A.R.
This deer is invisible to all of her enemies except us. The spots on her back allow her to blend into dappled sunlight and at this age she has no discernible scent. Her instinct is to stay so still that a cougar could walk right next to her and she would be safe. This is what fawns do while their mom is out getting her own food. The mama deer might be gone for as long as 24 hours but this system works for them… until humans come along.
You know how it goes: “Oh the poor deer. The mom must have abandoned it. Let’s rescue it.” So the well-meaning hikers kidnap the baby deer. (“Kidnap” is the term that the wildlife rehabilitation industry calls it when people remove deer that are perfectly healthy.) They take the fawn home and decide to keep it awhile because it is so cute. They feed it the wrong foods like milk or baby formula until the fawn’s health starts failing and they suddenly have a sick, gangly, wild animal on their hands.
Instead of “rescuing” a baby deer or any wild animal you find, just tiptoe away and let the mom come back. If you are in doubt as to the health of the animal, make a note as to its location and then call Southern Oregon Animal Rescue (S.O.A.R.) 541-708-1780 to talk it through with them. They have established protocols that work to protect the safety of the humans and the wildlife. For instance if someone does misguidedly take a fawn, S.O.A.R. can put the fawn back with cameras in place to see if mom comes back. Obviously the sooner this is done the more likely it will work.
S.O.A.R. was started in 2013 by Tiffany Morey. Tiffany spends part of her time teaching Criminal Justice at S.O.U. and the rest of her time is spent taking care of the wild creatures that need help.
Things you need to know about wildlife in Oregon:
- It is illegal in Oregon to keep most wildlife as a “pet” and could result in a fine of over $6,000.
- S.O.A.R. has an “I Found a Wild Animal” page on their website.
- There is a $427 fine to feed the deer in Ashland.
- If you must feed a wild animal baby, unflavored Pedialyte is your best bet.
- S.O.A.R. releases rehabilitated animals so that their normal habitat radius does not intersect with humans.
- Sadly, rescuing an injured animal frequently results in the animal dying because of the extreme stress. Only about 50% of “rescue” attempts result in the safe release of the animals.
- S.O.A.R. can only take in fawns from the current year and not past Sept 30th.
Some of you may be wondering: Why are we saving deer anyway? Don’t we have too many in town and don’t they sometimes get aggressive? The answer is complicated but ultimately, we save deer because it is human nature to rescue helpless creatures. S.O.A.R. hopes to make this safer for both humans and animals through education. We need to respect wild creatures and it would benefit everyone to do it from a bit of a distance.
How can you help S.O.A.R. take care of the wildlife that are legitimately rescued every year? One way is to help provide food for the fawns at the shelter: If you are clearing or trimming fruit, oak or madrone trees, the fawns would love to eat the branches with fresh leaves. They just need to be delivered within 24 hours of cutting so they still taste good! Mark you calendars and attend the annual fawn release celebration and silent auction event in the third week of September. And remember that baby deer are fine on their own, even for a whole day. If you care, leave them there! For more information go to soarwildlife.org.