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MONROE COUNTY (CBSMiami) — An endangered Key deer fawn is doing just fine Monday after being rescued from the path of a fast moving brush fire in Big Pine Key.
Monroe County Fire Rescue firefighter Jen Shockley from the Big Coppitt Key station responded to the brush fire Sunday afternoon. While protecting a home and with the fire moving rapidly at that point, Shockley rescued an endangered Key deer fawn.
“I jumped into the flames and saved the little guy,” Shockley said. “He was all by himself and running for his life into the fire.”
The rescue of the spotted fawn occurred at the corner of Raccoon Run and Wilder Boulevard.
The Key deer was given oxygen and water, and wrapped in a sheet. The deer was uninjured but kept in Monroe County Fire Rescue’s tanker until the fire was under control in that area.
At about 3 a.m. the deer was taken to Incident Command and released unharmed into a nearby unburned area.
This was a unique situation with a fawn and no mother in sight.
Key deer usually do not need to be rescued because they have evolved over the years and know how to adapt to fires. No Key deer have been found harmed and the ones observed appear healthy and not stressed, according to Dan Clark, Refuge Manager of the National Key Deer Refuge.
It is not uncommon to see Key deer near fires.
The interagency response on Big Pine Key is aware of wildlife in the area during the suppression.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are prepared for wildlife emergencies as needed.
Clark pointed out that Key deer habitat need fires. The new growth that will follow provides nourishment for the herd.