Introducing Autumn and Olive
The Buttonwood Park Zoo has a long history of providing forever homes to orphaned and injured native wildlife, thanks to a strong partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife – and 2021 has proven to be no exception.
In early summer months, MassWildlife placed a young white-tailed deer fawn at BPZOO, who was believed to have been orphaned at less than ten days old in South Dartmouth. Weeks later, she was joined by a second fawn found alone in Western Massachusetts. They are the first white-tailed deer to inhabit BPZOO since 2017.
The two fawns, now affectionately referred to as Autumn and Olive, were only weeks old when they arrived at BPZOO and required hand-rearing by animal care staff. After approximately two months of bottle feeding, weight checks and completing the required quarantine, the fawns are ready to venture into a temporary habitat near their future home in the Zoo’s bison habitat.
In discussing the new arrivals, Zoo Director, Keith Lovett stated that “as part of our mission related to environmental education and the conservation of wildlife, the Zoo is proud to provide homes to many native species that are injured or orphaned in the wild. The Zoo, who has a long history in managing deer, will work to educate our guests on the impact humans can have on local wildlife and actions that can be taken to minimize our imprint on the environment.”
Eventually, Autumn and Olive will move into the bison habitat, a roughly ½ acre space that the fawns will share with Sarah the bison and approximately 16 species of waterfowl. For now, the two fawns can be viewed in the side yard to the right of the entrance plaza.
About White-tailed Deer
White-tailed deer can survive in a variety of terrestrial habitats, from the big woods of northern Maine to the deep saw grass and hammock swamps of Florida. Ideal white-tailed deer habitat would contain dense thickets (in which to hide and move about) and edges (which furnish food). White-tailed deer fawns nurse for 8 to 10 weeks before they are weaned. Young males leave their mother after one year, but young females often stay with their mother for two years. Nervous and shy animals, white-tailed deer wave their tails characteristically from side to side when they are startled and fleeing. They are extremely agile and may bound at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. White-tailed deer are also good swimmers and often enter large streams and lakes to escape predators, insects or to visit islands.