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Park Ranger Weeps When She Sees What Tourists Did To Baby Deer

The actions of two well-intentioned tourists nearly cost a young animal his life.

Last week, in Grand Canyon National Park, ranger Della Yurcik and her colleague were met by the couple holding a fawn in their arms. They said they encountered the baby deer a quarter of a mile away, near a creek, when he approached them and seemed lost without his mother in sight. So, they decided to carry him out.

Grand Canyon National Park

The couple might have thought they were helping, but what they did to the fawn was wrong. Mother deer routinely leave their offspring alone while they forage, so the fawn likely wasn't in any danger at all. But interacting with wildlife like that isn't only illegal, it could very well doom the creature to his death.

Yurcik told the couple to leave the fawn and go. Then, as the Arizona Daily Sun reports, she began to cry - thinking that she'd have to euthanize him because he'd been handled by humans and wouldn't survive without his mother.

"People don't realize in national parks that we keep the wildlife wild," Yurcik told the news outlet.

It wouldn't be the first time a baby animal would be put down for this reason. In May, a seemingly lost bison calf at Yellowstone was euthanized after tourists drove her to "safety" under similar circumstances.

Fortunately, however, things ended much better for this fawn.


Yurcik told the Daily Sun that she brought the fawn to the spot where he'd been taken and wiped him down with a wet towel, hoping his mother would find him and accept him back. Sure enough, in the evening she did return to reclaim her baby. Days later, they were spotted again together.

While the fawn's story has a happy ending, things may be different for the naive tourists; they'll likely be cited for what they did.

In a post online, park officials say incidents like this one are an ongoing problem, and that hopefully others will learn:

"Even though people have the best intentions, it is best to leave wildlife in their natural habitat."