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Rescued fawns released back into the wild at OPG’s Nanticoke site

Eight rescued fawns took their first steps back into wilderness in September as they were released on OPG’s Nanticoke lands.

Eight rescued fawns were released back into the wilderness on OPG’s Nanticoke lands.
Eight rescued fawns were released back into the wilderness on OPG’s Nanticoke lands.

The baby deer, all roughly four months in age, were rescued and raised by Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge, a registered charity based in Jarvis, Ont. Some became sick after birth, while others were orphaned after their mothers died.

Over the last 12 years, OPG has allowed for the release of about 100 fawns on 800 acres of land that once hosted the Nanticoke Generating Station and is now home to the Nanticoke Solar facility.

“This is the absolute perfect release location,” said Chantal Theijn, Authorized Wildlife Custodian with Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge. “There’s lots of food here, and a resident deer population. There is also little to no human activity, so this gives the fawns a chance to acclimatize to the wild without encountering humans.

“We wish our spotted beauties a happy life.”

The property, which also features a five-acre wetland teeming with wildlife and plant species, is fenced in. The fawns can’t jump over this barrier when they’re this young, but can easily overtop the fence when they’re older and ready to venture outside.

OPG employee Randy Heitman poses with one of the released fawns.
OPG employee Randy Heitman poses with one of the released fawns.

Fawns with white camouflage spots aren’t seen as a threat by adult deer, so they can assimilate with the existing herd and learn how to be a deer from actual deer, said Theijn. And while these babies are old enough to take care of themselves and don’t need supervision, Randy Heitman, an OPG employee who works at the site, keeps an eye on the deer from a distance to make sure they’re doing ok.

“We really appreciate the ongoing cooperation and support of OPG. The company has supported our projects and allowed for wildlife releases at Nanticoke and other locations,” Theijn said. “OPG staff have been very supportive and passionate about helping these animals and getting them released back into the wild.”

Hobbitstee responds to distress calls across Ontario, picking up and treating animals from Guelph to London to Mississauga to as far as Windsor. This year, the refuge has helped rehabilitate more than 3,000 animals.