Saturday, June 14, 2014

Exhausted fawn rescued from flooded creek by concerned onlookers

Incessant rains in Kansas City, Missouri, earlier this week left a little baby deer stranded and struggling to find higher ground, but that's when some local people jumped in to help. Firefighters had hoped that when the waters receded, the fawn would find its way out of the storm drain, but three citizens didn't want to leave it and they instead got the fawn out. The helpless fawn stood patiently on Tuesday morning as it waited for the waters to recede. Rescue crews tried twice to save the deer, but firefighters say every time they tried to go near it, it ran away in the direction of the water flow, putting it at risk of being swept away. So crews stopped.

They then tried again with a rope, but the deer ran away from it. "I was not going to let anyone from animal control go down because they didn't have the proper gear or training. I was pretty concerned with my own people," Battalion Chief Jimmy Walker said. After crews left and the waters went down, a man jumped in. He too had troubles coaxing the little fawn to safety, but his nephew was there to help. After falling into the water a second time, the fawn realized it had no choice and it went in the direction of the men. That's when one of them grabbed its leg. Then came the hard part of getting it out. The drainage ditch is surrounded by concrete and there are no stairs in sight.

A woman helped one of the men up the concrete wall and through the thick brush. Then another stranger offered a hand. Together they formed a chain to get each other out. It was a risky situation that thankfully turned into a happy ending. The strangers took the cold but otherwise unharmed fawn to the Lakeside Nature Center, where authorities take in wildlife. "Made me feel good to save his life. Good experience man," said Durrell Cox. Firefighters say the creek is normally just a trickle of water, but with all the rain, it had really increased the water flow. That could be dangerous for anyone trying to get involved in the rescue. "We do have sympathy for the deer, we're only going to do so much for the deer and not risk anyone else's life,"

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Walker said when they backed away from their rescue attempts. There are concrete walls along the creek, but there are not any others farther upstream. Firefighters guess the fawn wandered into the stream and was swept down the creek. Kimberly Hess with Lakeside Nature Center said the fawn is female and believed to only be about a month old. She will be staying with Lakeside until she's ready to be released and that process will take at least a few months. Because of a disease impacting deer, they can't cross county lines, so because the fawn was found in Jackson County, she will need to remain in Jackson County. Hess said the fawn took her first full bottle, so she's eating well. She's still nursing, so she'll be on bottles awhile. The fawn's four paws were also badly cut, so they've been wrapped until they heel.

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