A first-time collaboration between Consumers Energy, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), and a certified wildlife rehabilitator will offer three orphaned whitetail deer fawns a chance to survive and thrive on Consumers Energy land in Southeast Michigan.
“Consumers Energy is committed to the Triple Bottom Line of people, planet, and prosperity. We are pleased to be able to provide a safe haven for wildlife and will continue to seek new opportunities to protect and preserve the environment of our great state,” said Amy Walt, vice president of operations support for the company, an energy provider of natural gas and electric in Michigan.
The three fawns were recently released on a parcel of Consumers Energy land in southeast Michigan. To protect their safety, the location isn’t being disclosed; they were placed on a large section of land with little chance of human interaction to give them the best chance at survival through the hunting season and beyond.
The fawns were taken in by the MDNR and Erin Stacks, a 17-year wildlife rehabilitator and disabled veteran who operates Back 2 the Wild Rehab nonprofit rescue. Stacks said two fawns were confiscated from residents who had illegally taken them into their homes, and the third was rescued after its mother was killed by a vehicle.
“People don’t realize how fragile orphaned fawns are,” Stacks said. “They require a lot of care and a special diet to survive. My job is to teach them how to be wild and have a healthy fear of humans so their chance of survival is enhanced.”
The collaboration began with Rob Bourgeois, a Consumers Energy real estate employee who works closely with MDNR conservation officers who help patrol Consumers Energy property where hunting and other activity is prohibited, such as on utility corridors, natural gas compression and electric substations, and storage fields. As part of their regular communication, a conservation officer suggested Consumers Energy land as an ideal spot to release the fawns.
The company provided a no-fee license to the rescue for use of the property, which will be renewed annually should additional release opportunities arise anywhere Consumers Energy owns land.
The fawns were rehabbed with extremely limited human contact to give them the best chance at survival, Stacks said. They were taught to forage, drink, and basically how to be wild deer, she added.
Stacks said the reintroduction into the wild appeared to be successful as the fawns quickly began exploring. “It was a beautiful piece of property to release the fawns on,” she said. As they mature, the fawns could migrate to other areas or they may choose to stay on the company property, which includes hundreds of acres of wooded and grassy land.