A fawn named Bella has been rescued in Nova Scotia after someone tried to sell her illegally for $300 in an online classified ad.
Derick Stoddard, assistant director of enforcement for the provincial Department of Natural Resources, said staff found an advertisement for the female fawn on the website Kijiji, a free classifieds website.
"This one was a first for us, the fawn," he said Thursday.
Stoddard said the ad was discovered by members of an investigative unit in the department. The group was established about a year ago, in part to keep tabs on the kinds of animals being sold online.
"There's a number of people that are selling native species," Stoddard said, adding it is illegal to do so.
The Kijiji ad — which has since been removed — featured pictures of the fawn standing on the couch and living in the house as a pet. The ad stated the "free-range deer" was found by the vendor on the side of the road.
Stoddard said officers with the department posed as buyers for the deer.
"A time and a place were set and a deal was made," he said. "The individual was met and there was an exchange of money for the deer."
A man was arrested immediately afterward and charges are pending, said Stoddard.
Bella has been taken to Hope for Wildlife, a wildlife rescue centre in Seaforth, N.S., where she will live with other fawns until she is released back into the wild in December, after the hunting season ends.
Hope Swinimer, the founder and director of Hope for Wildlife, said she's confident the fawn will be able to return to the wild.
"Even though Bella had a lot of hands-on care at the very beginning … already she is showing no signs of friendliness," she said. "In fact, she's running around the enclosure and is really quite unapproachable at this point."
The fine for selling a wild animal can be up to $2,000 in Nova Scotia.