In May 2019, a tiny two-day-old Sambar deer fawn, arrived at Liberation Sanctuary with his umbilical cord still attached. From the moment he was placed in the comforting arms of the sanctuary owner, Patty, he was finally safe. For Patty, it was love at first sight and she named him, Kang.
Kang is a real-life Bambi. A hunter found him lying next to the body of his mother, who had been shot (not by them). The hunter felt sorry for the fawn and took him to a wildlife sanctuary. Unfortunately, they are not legally allowed to care for deer because they are an introduced species, and doing so means they would lose their license. Of course, they wanted him to live and this is how Kang found his way to Liberation Sanctuary.
Patty knew nothing about raising a fawn, so she had to learn a lot very quickly. Luckily, Wombaroo sells deer milk replacer, and this helped Kang grow into the strong healthy havier (castrated male deer) he is today.
Little Kang never made any noise, only a tiny faint ‘ick’ sound if it was feeding time and he hadn’t been fed yet. And even this noise you could hardly hear. During her research, Patty discovered that this is because fawns are called ‘stash animals’, which means the mother deer hides her baby while she goes off to feed to reduce the risk of predation. The babies only suckle twice a day, every twelve hours and spend the rest of their time laying in the nest being very quiet so they do not attract predators. After 3-4 months, they wean themselves but continue to stay with their mother for 2 years. This was very different from the lambs Patty was used to caring for, as they are very vocal when they are hungry and suckle more regularly!
Kang had to be neutered, for a few reasons. Largely, to keep him safe and prevent any pregnancies, but also to reduce aggression, prevent antlers from growing, and stop the rut period adults go through. A rut period is when males leave their scent to attract females. Heartbreakingly, Sambar deer are hunted in the area and hunters often use dogs to track their scent. To reduce the chances of Kang being shot, he wears a bright coloured neck scarf.
Kang formed a strong bond with Rosie, one of the rescue dogs. They love each other and can often be found grooming and licking one another.
Both roam freely around the Sanctuary and have beds on three of the porches. Patty said that when Kang was smaller, he would come inside through the doggie door and sleep on her bed.
Kang is extremely friendly and loves to greet the Sanctuary visitors. If he’s not frightened by the person he will give them a ‘nose breath’, which is when he touches his nose up near theirs and sniff their breath. Kang and Patty do this every day, it’s their normal greeting and show of affection, just like hugging a friend.
We have a disturbing relationship with these beautiful animals – which is made even more evident by the fact that a hunter wanted to spare the babies life, after willingly taking his mothers.
Patty said her love for Kang runs deep and she would undoubtedly take a bullet for him.