ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — As the weather has warmed up in Tennessee over the past couple of months, young deer in our area have been visible to hikers, farmers, and other people throughout our community.
Extra visibility has brought on additional attention to fawns who have been injured or even left alone in the wild.
When a young deer falls under one of those categories, they are often taken to Little Ponderosa Zoo & Rescue in Anderson County.
"They try to bring them here for us to help them, and we do our best to try to get these guys back into the wild where they belong," founder and director James Cox said.
Once the deer are in the facility, they go through an important two-step process that helps to prepare them for re-entry into the wild.
The first step helps nurture and rehab the young animals. From removing fleas and ticks to helping them learn how to feed, step one is essential. The second step distances the animals from humans, allowing them to get used to life in the wild.
At the zoo's "beyond" area, the deer are moved away from motor vehicles and human activity, with the exception of any essential needs that may arise.
After months of adaptation, the deer will return to the wilderness in September.
"They'll go from there, to TWRA and they'll come and release them into the wildlife area," Cox said.
Cox also mentioned that the funding available to help the rescue comes from the zoo's visitors. If you see a young deer that you might think is alone, Cox encourages you to give them 48 hours.
"If you find one in the wild, leave it. Give it a while. Chances are, mom is coming back for it," Cox said.