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Metro Detroit community raises orphaned baby deer

Not much happens in the tiny Detroit suburb of Pleasant Ridge, Michigan -- I would know, because I grew up there. 

But last spring, an unlikely visitor came to town: a mother deer who was pregnant with a fawn.

People were surprised that the mother deer would choose Pleasant Ridge, because the town is wedged between Woodward Avenue and 10 Mile Road, both busy streets.

After giving birth, fears for the safety of the deer were realized. The mother deer was killed by a car on Woodward, leaving behind her fawn, now known as "Baby."

People in Pleasant Ridge wanted to be sure that the same cruel fate wouldn't befall Baby, so they began taking care of her.

First, they looked for a way to relocate her, but were told that tranquilizing the fawn might be too much of a shock for her system. So they waited for the fawn to grow older, feeding her, and driving carefully down the streets that she frequents. 

She chases joggers down the streets, trots down sidewalks and has been known to stop traffic.

Over the last couple months, Baby the deer has become a local celebrity in the tiny town.

She chases joggers down the streets, trots down sidewalks and has been known to stop traffic. Recently, that celebrity has spread to newspapers and TV networks that have reported on the story. 

It's like a modern day Bambi -- if Bambi were raised by suburban moms instead of forest creatures. 

The community received some flak for allegedly attempting to 'domesticate' Baby. But they say they were just trying to keep Baby alive, and hope that her familiarity with people will help make her feel more relaxed during the relocation process.

Baby is slated to be relocated sometime this week. She'll be tranquilized and moved to the E.L. Johnson Nature Center in Bloomfield Hills. 

According to the manager of the center, Dan Badgley, Baby will have a roommate: a 2 year-old doe named Summer.

The Free Press reports

Badgley said if the move is successful, Baby will see wild deer that visit the property in addition to schoolchildren and other visitors from the public (the center is free and open every day but major holidays). He expects Baby and Summer to get along well, but their interaction will be watched very closely.

Residents of Pleasant Ridge will be paying for the sedation and transportation of Baby.

They don't mind the money -- they just want to see Baby safe. 

--Paige Pfleger, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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