A  baby deer was confiscated by Arizona Game and Fish Department after officials found it in a vehicle during a traffic stop near Wickenburg, according to a department statement.

After receiving a tip that a fawn was being kept inside of a single-wide trailer northwest of Phoenix with three dogs, state wildlife managers saw the residents placing the deer in a car and leaving, the statement said.

Game and Fish officials said they pulled the vehicle over, arrested one of the vehicle’s occupants on outstanding warrants and then confiscated and transferred what they described as the “kidnapped” fawn to a department wildlife center in Phoenix. It is now being treated by a local veterinarian, the statement read.

“Because of the irresponsible actions of one or more individuals, this deer fawn is now reliant on humans for its survival,” Mike Demlong, the department’s Wildlife Education program manager, said in the statement. “While their actions may have been well intentioned, in reality they have doomed this fawn to a life in captivity. Although some baby wildlife may appear to have been abandoned, its mother likely ‘parked’ the fawn in one location while they foraged for food and water. The best choice would have been to leave the fawn alone and to walk away.”

The fawn will be placed in an Arizona zoo once it is deemed healthy enough to be transported, but Game and Fish officials say many animals taken out of the wilderness are not as lucky.

Animals taken from the wild by humans often can’t be returned back to nature because of concerns that the animal won’t be able to survive on its own. Because of this, animals often end up euthanized because of a lack of space in zoos and sanctuaries that can take them in, according to Game and Fish Department officials.

“Picking up or ‘rescuing’ seemingly abandoned baby wildlife is often unnecessary, and in most cases only results in an animal being left an orphan,” Demlong said. “Baby wildlife raised by humans are less likely to survive if they are released back into the wild.”

The department urges members of the public to contact a “licensed wildlife rehabilitator” if they find an animal that is clearly sick, wounded or has broken bones, or if there is “strong evidence” the animal’s mother is dead. Otherwise, officials said, it is best to leave them alone.

Department centers become inundated each year with birds, rabbits and other wildlife that are take from the wild unnecessarily, according to the statement.


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