How one man helped a dead deer birth a fawn
Jurgen Mannhardt makes the drive between Millbank and Kincardine often, but this time took an unexpected turn.
When Mannhardt hit the road Monday, his trek was suddenly stopped. He saw a pregnant deer and one of its babies dead on the side of the road.
"I knew something got hit. And I thought it was something big," said Mannhardt. "As I drove by, I looked over and I had seen some movement."
Mannhardt couldn't believe what happened next. As he approached, the mother deer laid there lifeless. Then, there was a sign of life. She was pregnant.
"A little head was poking out of the rest of it in a hole in a sac. And it was trying to get out and trying to get out and it just wouldn't get free," Mannhardt said.
Without thinking, he ripped open the amniotic sac the baby deer was still in.
"So I pulled it free and checked its legs and nothing was broken. It seemed to be fine," said Mannhardt.
He loaded the little fawn into his truck and wrapped her tightly with his fleece jacket to keep her warm and to ensure she didn't move. He carried on to Kincardine and called around to see where he could bring the tiny deer, all while dealing with the emotion.
"I mean, at the roadside, I was fighting tears because of the mother and the other baby. That really hit me hard," Mannhardt said.
He got a hold of Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge, who told him they could pick the fawn up that day at the Guelph Humane Society. So he went back in the car and drove two hours the opposite way.
Jordyn Moorehead is the wildlife care attendant who was on-shift at the humane society when the fawn was brought in.
"I was worried, of course, because of the trauma the mom and the other baby had sustained. I was kind of concerned the state the fawn was going to be in," Moorehead said.
But to her surprise, the fawn was faring well, especially with the odds stacked against her.
"That's the first time I've ever heard something like this happening," said Moorehead.
That's saying something considering The Guelph Humane Society cares for more than 1,800 sick, hurt or orphaned wildlife animals every year.
The fawn was later taken to Hobbitstee thanks to collaboration with volunteers from the humane society. That's where the fawn will stay until September or October. Then she will be brought back to a safe location and released nearby where she was found.
As for Mannhardt, he's hoping his drives are less adventurous going forward. But he says he will always have a fond memory of his encounter with the lucky fawn.