Keep the Wild In Wildlife

Fawn Photo: Joe Kosack

It’s undeniable – baby animals are adorable. And fawns top the list.  It’s understandable why people might think that raising a fawn or any wild animal as a pet is a tempting and exciting idea. It’s also undeniable that this is a very bad idea.  Like Hugo, Looney Tune’s abominable snowman, whose well-meaning love was thrust upon Daffy Duck, people must understand that wild animals are not pet material.

When wild animals grow up, they can become dangerous and very unpredictable. Stories about wild animals that have been kept as pets (including deer, even does) attacking and injuring people are frequently in the news.

Wild animals have evolved as independent, free-living beings. They have needs, instincts and behaviors that are inseparably tied both to their appropriate habitat, and to a free-living state. No matter how well designed a captive habitat may be, it can never replicate the freedom that wild animals seek. Wild animals belong in the wild.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission does not encourage or regulate captive deer.  As an alternative, people should consider adopting one of the millions of domestic shelter pets that need a home.

 J.T. Fleegle

Pennsylvania Game Commission

Wildlife Biologist, Deer & Elk Management Section

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