June 17th, 2019

Young pronghorn born by cesarean on highway being seen as ‘one heck of a valuable little guy’

By GILLIAN SLADE on June 13, 2019.

SUBMITTED PHOTO
Saamis, the pronghorn fawn born by emergency cesarean on Highway 41A two weeks ago, is thriving at his new home in Saskatoon.

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

A pronghorn fawn born by emergency cesarean on Highway 41A two weeks ago is thriving at his new home in Saskatoon.

“He’s doing very well. He’s getting stronger each day. He was a little bit wobbly at the start on his back legs but he’s increasing in strength,” said Tim Sinclair-Smith, manager of the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo.

Around 9 a.m. on May 28 a local rancher, Tyrel Pahl, found a pronghorn doe that had been hit by a vehicle. Jeff Gilham, Alberta fish and wildlife officer, made the decision that she had to be euthanized due to the extent of her injuries. An emergency cesarean was done and about 24 hours later the fawn, named Saamis by Pahl’s daughters, was on his way to live in Saskatoon.

Sinclair-Smith describes Saamis as “a very curious little guy,” who is totally in love with the staff caring for him.

“When they walk in the room he’s straight over there,” said Sinclair-Smith.

If anyone questions the “bonding” aspect, Sinclair-Smith says it is actually a good thing. Pronghorn tend to be quite skittish and can be difficult at times in an enclosed situation. The hands-on interaction creates a calmer animal which in turn facilitates the process of introducing them to the other pronghorn, he explained.

Saamis is still bottle fed but in the next few weeks they will start introducing him to normal food that he will ultimately depend on for his diet.

Sinclair-Smith says within the captive population of pronghorn in Canada there is a focus on diversifying the genetics in the species survival program. In Saskatoon they did not have a male that wasn’t related genetically. So for Saamis to have come all the way from southern Alberta is really good not only for the pronghorn there but even further afield. Future young pronghorn from Saskatoon could be sent to other facilities that will benefit from the genetic diversification.

“Saamis is going to turn out to be one heck of a valuable little guy,” said Sinclair-Smith. “Out of a sad situation, actually something incredible can happen here.”

When Saamis leaves the quarantine centre he will have a natural habitat to enjoy.

Sinclair-Smith says Saskatoon has moved away from the concept of a typical zoo with cages for viewing to being a sanctuary where every animal must meet certain criteria in order to be there. That criteria may be because they are part of an endangered species program or have a handicap that prevents them from being released back into the wild.

Plans are underway for a major expansion that will see a fenced area of about 15 to 20 acres, together with elk and bison, that provides a safe environment while the animals enjoy a natural habitat.

“He’s going to be a lucky little boy,” said Sinclair-Smith.

Saamis the pronghorn fawn is doing well

Saamis, the little proghorn fawn born by emergency cesarean on Hwy 41 two weeks ago, is doing well in Saskatoon. Full story in Thursday's Medicine Hat News. Here's the original story from May 30 – https://medicinehatnews.com/news/local-news/2019/05/30/fatally-injured-pronghorn-moms-fawn-saved/

Posted by Medicine Hat News on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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