oh deer

Today started as usual: Arrival at the Breeding Centre; a good morning cuddle with Maude, a gosling that I am helping to imprint rear; a good morning sing song with Katie the parrot; feeding the Black-necked swan cygnets; and then heading out with the feed trolley to ‘do’ the rest of my section through the pouring rain.

On entering a large goose and swan enclosure, I discovered two mystery eggs. One was on a very basic, half-hearted nest, the other was on the ground a few metres away. I decided the eggs were too small to be swan, so goose it was. But which? There are four species of goose hanging out in this enclosure, mostly in pairs. Hmm. I got some pine straw, made a better nest on the same spot, and laid both eggs (not literally!) within. Now we’ll see who visits the nest… and solve mystery number one.

I then took a stroll around the whole of the enclosure, seeking any more random eggs. No more eggs, but I did come upon a dead deer, just the other side of the fence. I went round to where she lay. To investigate the crime scen, and to drag her in to the woods –  away from the goose enclosure, for scavengers and detriitivores to do their jobs out of sight.
She was a tad heavier than I had presumed. But drag the beautiful, large,rigor-mortis corpse I did.

Discoveries:
1. She had a broken back (hind LOL) leg. A clean snap with the bone sticking right out.
2. Animals had begun to eat her from her posterior. I could see parts of her lower digestive bits and bobs hanging out.
3. She had died in a location where she was potentially trapped or cornered, electrified fencing on two sides.

Conclusions:
I can’t imagine that anything but a vehicle could have caused such a severe leg injury. The road is not far away. Could she have made it away on three legs?
If foxes or coyotes came across the deer already dead, they would have begun eating her belly to get to those soft organs. A fox would not attempt to take down a full grown deer, no matter how injured it was. Coyotes however, well they work together in teams like wolves do. If they came across the deer still alive (but presumably unable to run) they would have gone for her backside to bring her down… And then continued to munch.

As tragic as this demise of a beautiful, healthy deer was, I couldn’t help but be a little excited – to know that coyotes are close by. Really close by.             

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About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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