Beaufort News

One rescued fawn dies, the other holds on

One of the twin fawns miraculously rescued after an auto accident died earlier this week, but a Bluffton veterinarian remains optimistic that its sibling will pull through.

"We lost one of them two days ago," Dr. Benjamin Parker, owner of Coastal Veterinary Clinic, said Thursday. "Initially, she did very well, but stopped taking a bottle maybe a couple days into it, and we had to start treating her a little more aggressively -- tube-feeding her, basically force-feeding her."

With twins, Parker said, the stronger fawn usually dominates and receives more of the mother's attention and milk.

"For both of them to survive, even in a normal, natural circumstance, is not necessarily that common," he said.

These two deer faced even greater challenges, since they were born prematurely. At about 2:30 a.m. May 19, their mother was hit by a vehicle on U.S. 278, said Capt. Randy Hunter of the Bluffton Township Fire District. The accident ruptured the doe's abdomen, Hunter said, and "the fawns popped out and were trying to walk around."

In addition, because they didn't benefit from their mother's first milk, which contains nutrients and antibodies, these two baby deer were especially vulnerable, Parker said.

The surviving fawn has fended off infection, and Parker said it has "turned the corner" and is now gaining weight. It could be released to the wild sometime next month.

It still has not been named, but suggestions are being batted around the veterinary clinic.

"I kind of like the name, personally, 'Hope,' " Parker said.