On Monday, Aug. 17 – as wildfires tore through Kamiah, Idaho – a family of dogs performed a stunning gesture of respect towards a dead fawn who had fallen victim to the blaze. They were found by Louis Armstrong, a resident of Kamiah, who was checking out the condition of his family’s 300 acres after a fire had ripped through the area.
After noticing the unusual behavior of his neighbor’s dogs, he was moved to take this picture of them.
Armstrong checked back on them throughout the day and said that they “stayed until dark, warding off people and potential predators.” Why the dogs may have felt the need to guard the fawn’s body is a mystery – perhaps they wanted to show some solidarity to this vulnerable little animal, killed by a terrifying event that was beyond his or her control? It certainly goes to show that when it comes to the emotional lives of non-humans, there is a lot that we have yet to understand.
Sadly, wild animals are, all too often, the forgotten victims when a wildfire strikes. Ali Crumpacker, director of The Fund for Animals Wildlife Centre (FAWC) explains, “There is little emergency responders can do for wild animals while the fires are burning. These creatures are naturally wary and fearful of humans, and with the added chaos of the fires, they are frantic and desperate to find a safe place to stop running. With the fires sending them out of their niches, wild animals run towards the hoses, sirens and streets. Obstacles send them reeling back to the flames until they settle on a direction to travel, all while trying to run the border between human-cultivated land and the burning wilderness. By the time they stop, if they have made it out at all, the animals are dehydrated and exhausted. Many have smoke-inhalation issues and some will have burns. All will be displaced.”
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have put together a useful guide to finding a wildlife rehabilitation center in your area, so if you find a wild animal in need of help – because of a wildfire, or any other reason – check it out. You can also refer to One Green Planet’s Animal Rescue Hotline directory.
Image source: Fox News