20 May 2022

Have you herd? Wagga Zoo's fallow deer need a new home

| Anna Maskus
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Stag at Wagga Zoo & Aviary

This stag and five does are looking for a new home. Photo: Wagga Zoo and Aviary.

The Wagga Zoo and Aviary have started searching for a new home for some of their fallow deer herd.

Wagga City Council has put a call out for expressions of interest in caring for the group of five does and one stag.

The herd is being re-homed to help the zoo manage their deer population, a process that the staff undertake with various types of animals every year.

The Zoo will keep five fawns (baby deer) hand-raised last year.

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Zoo curator Wendy McNamara said it was important that the new owners will be committed to the herd’s lifetime care.

“We are going to be very choosy because we are very attached to these guys and they will only go to the best home,” Ms McNamara said.

“An ideal scenario would be a hobby farm, but we are really just looking for somewhere they can live out the rest of their lives peacefully.

“We won’t be considering commercial deer farms because we don’t want them to be sold on for slaughter or hunting or anything like that.”

The zoo will keep five fawns, three of which shown above, that were hand raised last year. Photo: Anna Maskus.

The zoo will keep its five hand-raised fawns. Photo: Anna Maskus.

Ms McNamara also noted some essential requirements for the herd’s new home.

“It’s important for us to ensure they’re going to someone who will appreciate them and take good care of them,” she said.

“We’ll need evidence of suitable housing and land, and all fences need to be at least two metres high.

“We would also definitely prefer the whole herd to go together but we may consider splitting them into two groups if that is necessary.”

This is the first time that the Zoo has re-homed a whole adult herd of deer and Ms McNamara thinks it’s unlikely to happen again.

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Zoo Curator Wendy McNamara feeding deer

Zoo curator Wendy McNamara feeding her much loved herd. Photo: Wagga Zoo and Aviary.

“I think this is a one-off event; we don’t plan on breeding anymore,” she said.

The zoo estimates the herd will be relocated around September or after the stag has dropped his hard antlers. Stags can be dangerous and difficult to handle in this stage.

“Around February the velvet starts to fall off the newer, softer antlers. Then they harden and can be used as weapons – plus he will be full of hormones. So we’ll wait until that period has passed before moving them,” Ms McNamara said.

“He’ll start to grow a new set and we will keep the old set here to be used in education sessions. We pass them around so visitors can hold and feel them while they learn about the deer.

“We’re not in any rush to move them on and we will hold onto them until we find the right home.”

And whoever the lucky new owners are, they may even get a very cute bonus.

“The does will most likely be pregnant by the time they’re ready to be relocated, so the new owners will probably get new fawns around December of this year,” Ms McNamara said.

For more information about the herd or to request an expression of interest form contact Zoo curator Wendy McNamara on 1300 292 442 or email [email protected]

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