Bertha recovers after river rescue drama

Bertha the deer
Bertha the deer

A rescue centre near Ellon has taken in a baby deer which was saved from the swollen River Dee.

The four-month-old deer was brought to safety by a family after they spotted a pair of ears and noticed the animal struggling in the fast-flowing river during last week’s floods.

The North East Wildlife & Animal Rescue Centre (The New Arc) director, Keith Marley, has praised the family who saved the deer.

Keith told the Times: “The deer had gone down to the bank, there was a strong current and then she had tried to scramble.

“They did the right thing by keeping hold of her. She was barely weened and she wouldn’t have survived at four months old.

“They got her core temperature up, rescued her and didn’t feed or give her anything to drink before we got there.

“The first thing most people do is give them something to drink and the worst thing you can do is give them cows milk as most animals are lactose intolerant. It can upset their stomach to such a degree that it can kill them.”

Keith had planned to name the deer Nemo but arrived to find that the family had already named her Bertha after the hurricane. He said: “The family had already suitably called her Bertha which is a better name.

“It’s funny because the week before I was just saying that we hadn’t taken in any deer this year.

“We had been out to see some but they were not deemed to come in to the centre.”

Bertha is doing well but will be under close observation over the next few months.

Keith added: “Her breathing is good and so are her limbs, nothing is broken or bruised. She has had lambs milk and is eating greens - she is looking perky.

“We are keeping an eye on her - but she is not out of the woods yet.

“Our big adult worry is capture myopathy. When they are kept shut in for a while they look bright eyed at first but when you go back to check on them they are glassy eyed and they just decide to go.

“It happens because of an over production of adrenaline which can happen as a result to trauma such as being knocked over.

“It is certainly going the right way. We are very hopeful that she is young enough to not suffer from capture myopathy.”

Bertha is staying in a cosy stable at the centre before she will be introduced outside. It is hoped that she will be released into a suitable environment by spring next year.