Photo courtesy of the MNRF

Mirabelle the deer still awaiting release

By Darren Lum
Published Sept. 4 2018

The deer made famous locally for her rescue after being shot with an arrow close to Christmas last year is still recovering and has not yet been released as was expected this past spring.

Mirabelle the young doe a little more than a year old remains at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Rosseau said Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary founder and operator Monika Melichar.

Melichar was instrumental in co-ordinating the effort to rescue the deer after being contacted by residents who had seen the injured deer around Haliburton. The deer was having difficulty feeding and moving due to the arrow protruding from her skull.

Recovery for Mirabelle has been slow due to the nerve damage caused by the wound which was close to her eye.

Melichar said Mirabelle’s nerves in her mouth have not fully recovered restricting her jaw movements for feeding. The deer lives mainly on grain as a result.

Despite this Mirabelle has been eating the small buds off of branches as would be available in the wild.

Several months have passed and Melichar said there has to be some atrophy with the jaw but she is hopeful the nerves will eventually heal over time. She points out that legally the sanctuary in Rosseau can keep Mirabelle for up to a year before it must re-apply for permission to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

While in Rosseau Mirabelle found love.

Bow a buck close to the same age was also recovering from an arrow wound in his back. The pair developed a fondness for one another and Bow has been referred to as Mirabelle’s boyfriend.

The buck has since recovered and was recently released in the Rosseau area. He returns and sees Mirabelle from outside the Rosseau enclosure. Melichar believes a release could be imminent for Mirabelle despite her jaw because of the relationship with Bow.

Melichar who recently received the single largest donation from the community welcomes donations to help her with running the sanctuary.