Darius Sasnauskas is a nature-lover, outdoorsman, and photographer.
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His YouTube channel — and other social media pages — contains dozens of wildlife videos. But none as popular as the ones he took when he saved a baby deer in 2015.
There are five total videos related to the rescue and release of the fawn and, shockingly, the one that happens to be nearly 17 minutes long is the one that went viral. It has now been viewed over 32 MILLION times!
Sasnauskas lives near Yellowstone National Park, so he’s no stranger to wildlife traipsing through his yard.
Still, he noticed something odd about a white-tailed doe and her two brand new babies that came through one September day.
It’s upsetting to watch, but one of the babies clearly cannot walk.
It stumbles, unable to keep up. But its mother carries on without it, taking the more mobile baby with her.
The injured deer is left lying in the grass alone and abandoned.
“The fawn was helpless,” Sasnauskas told The Dodo. “She was just born earlier that day, [and] still had some blood on her belly.”
Sasnauskas then shows us just how many predators lurk nearby as he pans to some bears, letting us know that it’s unlikely the deer can fend for itself under the circumstances.
While he says he doesn’t believe in keeping wild animals as pets, the animal-lover felt he had no choice but to take in the fawn and try to nurse it back to health.
He bandaged its injured leg until she was strong enough to walk again.
But it takes more than intuition to know how to foster a baby deer.
“I had to do some Internet search and reading to be able to understand how to [raise] a fawn … get up at night to feed her every four hours, and clean her after,” he said.
By the next morning, Sasnauskas has photos of the deer getting to know his pets.
His dog, Mack, took a particular interest in caring for the creature.
In a separate video, we even see the sweet creature learn to drink from a bottle while the resident cat remained deeply unimpressed.
According to The Dodo, Sausnaskas took care of the fawn for two weeks before attempting to release it back into the wild. The hope was that the doe would come back and take in her baby again.
While he didn’t have his camera on him at the time, Sausnaskas assured viewers that the fawn’s mom did, indeed, agree to take it back.
In the time he took care of her he took extra precautions not to get too attached or allow the wild animal to be too reliant on him. He didn’t even give her a name.
“I really hoped that she did not get attached to me too much, because that would make [it] very hard for her to survive in the wild. She would become [an] easy target for hunters and predators,” he said in an e-mail to The Dodo.
But he did show the creature kindness.
The impromptu wildlife rehabilitator did his job well and was rewarded by seeing the family together in his yard multiple times after that.
“[I’ve] seen [the family] many times after release, also seen them recently in the fall,” he said. “The mother deer usually does not go too far from the place where she feels safe, so she stays around the area.”
The final video in the saga was posted a year later where we see the babies all grown up.
“It is [a] very, very good feeling seeing them safe roaming around.”
Be sure to scroll down below to see some clips from the original video or watch it here.
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