She wanted her mother

A young gazelle died after it was taken in by a family that was sure it was abandoned

In the spring and summer months many Israelis take the opportunity to explore wild areas. During this period nature is in renewal, and the females of different animals give birth to their young. One excursion by a family from Tel Aviv ended in the unfortunate and unnecessary death of a month and a half year old fawn.

After giving birth, the gazelles tend to hide their young in the bushes and distance themselves from them out of fear that they will be attacked by predators. Excursionists, when they see the fawns alone, and with the memory in their heads of the well known movie, Bambi, who is orphaned from its mother, think that the fawns have been abandoned and are in need of assistance. This phenomenon occurs every year, where the excursionists take the fawns and think that they are performing a wise action. However, in actuality by doing so they are passing judgment on the fawn for a life in captivity, since the gazelles can never go back to their natural habitat and usually end up in a petting zoo. Even touching and petting a fawn can do it harm, since the mother may find it difficult to locate its young when there are foreign odors clinging to it. In addition, gazelles are very delicate and great stress can easily bring about their deaths.

To our sorrow, this scenario occurred this week when the offices of the Society received a call from a man who said that in the course of a family hike through the sand dunes between Ashdod and Ashkelon, the family members discerned a fawn hiding in the bushes. The family, which assumed that the young gazelle had been abandoned and were concerned about its fate, took it home and kept it in their house for three days.

Representatives of the Society went out immediately to collect the fawn, which was given its first veterinary examination by our veterinary staff, and then transferred to “Afek” – the hospital for wild animals of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority. The next day it died of lack of mother’s milk, the great stress and being isolated from its natural habitat.

The message is clear: if you come across a fawn, please do not approach it and do not touch it. Leave it in its hiding place and quickly distance yourself from it so as not to alarm it. If the fawn is injured or there is a real fear of danger to its life, you should contact the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority.