FAWNS have been mistakenly taken from the wild and handed in to a Clacks rescue centre by members of the public in recent weeks.

This has prompted the Scottish SPCA – which runs the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross – to urge people to be #WildlifeWise as part of its campaign to educate people about wildlife.

Of the nine fawns brought to the charity, seven were taken from their natural environment by people who have potentially mistaken the animals as abandoned by their parents.

Female deer will leave their young from an early age while they forage for food. The doe will leave its fawn in long grass or under bushes to protect it from predators.

And so the SSPCA has asked people to stay a safe distance away from fawns and not to contact its helpline unless the young deer is showing signs of needing assistance.

A mother will return to the fawn and feed it, so if someone does return later and the fawn does not show any signs of needing help then it should be left alone.

Mike Flynn, the SSPCA's chief superintendent, said: "We've had instances where people have phoned our animal helpline about a fawn and have chosen to ignore our advice and uplifted the animal anyway. One fawn was less than a day old and died shortly after arriving.

"Some people have taken the fawns in to their homes which is incredibly stressful on the animal.

"These are not domestic pets used to human interaction, these are wild animals and being petted and taken into a home is not natural to them and they will be terrified.

"Sadly, this can cause so much stress that the animal can pass away.

"If you come across a fawn, please stay well back and do not alert it to your presence.

"People should only intervene if the fawn is injured or the mother is deceased nearby.

"Please help us to keep wild families together and only phone when its needed."

To report an injured or distressed animal, contact the SSPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

For more information about the #WildlifeWise campaign, visit scottishspca.org/wildlifewise