Yukoners rescue deer and fawn from empty sewage pit

·3 min read
A deer and her fawn were found trapped in the bottom of an empty sewage pit in Carcross, Yukon, on Monday. The deep, rubber-lined pit was too slippery for the hooved animals to climb out of. (Patrick Brown/Facebook - image credit)
A deer and her fawn were found trapped in the bottom of an empty sewage pit in Carcross, Yukon, on Monday. The deep, rubber-lined pit was too slippery for the hooved animals to climb out of. (Patrick Brown/Facebook - image credit)

It's almost like a custom-designed trap — easy to get in, and tough to get out.

But when a couple of deer ended up stuck in the bottom of the slippery, rubber-lined pit on Monday, some enterprising Yukoners jumped into action to help the animals escape.

"It was just a call to action and we just did what we needed to do and got them out," said Patrick Brown, who works for the Carcross/Tagish First Nation.

It happened at the sewage lagoon in Carcross, which the territorial government has been doing some work to expand. The two deer — a mother and fawn — somehow wound up in a newly-constructed pit.

"I don't know if the baby was just curious with what was happening there, and then she just lost her footing and slid down there — and then the mom just wanted to be with the baby," said Brown.

However it happened, there they were — walking aimlessly through a shallow trough of water at the bottom of the otherwise-empty pit.

Patrick Brown/Facebook
Patrick Brown/Facebook

The First Nation has been working to build a fence around the site and in the meantime ensure that wildlife don't get into trouble there. So when contractors at the site spotted the deer, they called Brown and his co-workers.

The rescuers soon had a solution. They used some rope to fasten some fabric ladders as a kind of ramp to the bottom of the pit. Brown says the ladders are designed for sewage lagoons.

A video Brown posted to Facebook shows what happened next. The rescuers gently urged the two animals to walk away from them, through the trough of water and toward the ladder.

Watch the rescuers coax the animals to safety:

Once there, though, the animals seem confused or even a bit spooked. They repeatedly tried to walk up beside the ladder, only to lose their footing on the slippery slope.

"The magical ladder to freedom wasn't exactly an inviting surface, I guess, for those little hooves," Brown said with a laugh.

"The fawn seemed to figure it out before the mom did. I think the mom was focused on the safety of her baby, but the baby was like, 'Hey, mom, we got this.' So they eventually just figured it out."

There were some tense moments as the animals made their way up the slope. The moment they would step off the side of the ladder, they'd scramble to get a purchase on the slick liner.

"Oh, don't break a leg, please don't break a leg!" Brown is heard saying on the video as the animals slip and their legs buckle.

Patrick Brown/Facebook
Patrick Brown/Facebook

Once out of the pit, the two animals "magically pranced off into the bush," Brown said.

He's glad his crew was able to help.

"I feel like we have a responsibility as stewards of the land, all of us. And learning that from the First Nations up here — like, we have a responsibility to the land and to these animals," Brown said.

The workers decided to leave the fabric ladder in place, just in case something similar happens. And Brown says the pit should be safely enclosed within weeks.

"The fence is going up as we speak."

Patrick Brown/Facebook
Patrick Brown/Facebook
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