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Opinion: Taken fawn shines light on good done by Arizona Game and Fish

This Monday, Aug. 7, 2017 photo shows a 3-day-old baby mule deer at Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters in Phoenix. A man found the fawn, thought it was abandoned and took it into a bar to see if anybody else wanted to take it home. Since it was ripped from its mother and depends on humans for survival, it will never be able to go back into the wild. It will be taken to a wildlife reserve. (George Andrejko/Arizona Game and Fish Department via AP)

On Monday, your Arizona Game and Fish Department reported that someone had turned in a 3-day-old fawn.

For those of you new to wildlife, when I say fawn, I mean baby deer. Think Bambi.

The person who had the deer claimed it had been abandoned and needed to be rescued.

No.

Ladies and gentlemen, when we, as humans, go into the woods, the mountains or the desert, we are ecotourists. We are visitors in other species’ homes.

It is extremely rare that baby animals are abandoned. Think about it the next time your kids are outside running around: Another adult approaches, looks around and doesn’t see you. So they pick your kids up and take them to the police department claiming they were abandoned.

The bottom line here is, if you see a baby animal in the wild, leave it alone. Not only are you messing with that animal, but you’re putting yourself in a lot of danger.

You might not be able to see the mother but odds are she is watching you and is ready to defend her baby to the death.

If you see an animal that you think is in distress or has been abandoned, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Now, back to Bambi. Game and Fish will have to raise the animal — and foot the bill — because it can’t survive on its own. It was never taught how to survive in the wild by its mother.

But there is a spot of good here: The situation shines a light on the fact that the Arizona Game and Fish Department does more to maintain healthy populations of animal species than any other non-coastal state in the nation.

The department is not all about hunting and fishing. It is the front line of animal conservation.

Here’s a fun fact to add into the mix: Game and Fish does not receive general fund tax dollars. Instead, the department relies on hunting and fishing licenses, fines, donations and tags.

When mistakes — such as taking a baby deer from its mother — are made, it siphons away money from an already tight budget.

Please, folks. Do you homework before you go wandering into the animal kingdom.

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