Monday, July 18, 2011

Newborn Wildlife Abandoned Because of Heat, Drought

The extreme heat and persistent drought seen in much of Texas is taking its toll on wildlife, with deer, birds and other animals abandoning or unable to feed their young.

Pregnant does are having problems carrying fawns to term, and most of them born prematurely aren't surviving, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Other does are abandoning their newborns because drought-induced malnutrition has robbed them of their ability to produce milk.

Abandoned fawns found all over the Panhandle and South Plains have been brought to the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Ten had been brought to the Lubbock wildlife center by the end of last week.

"With the drought, there is no feed for the mother deer. And if they can't feed, they can't produce milk. They can't feed their babies, so they are leaving them," center volunteer Gail Barnes told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

The newborns that don't starve are easy prey for predators such as bobcats. One fawn that survived an attack was brought to the South Plains center, Barnes said. "It's in isolation, it's torn up so bad," she said. (more)