'He's the deer of the year': Carrot on way to recovery after arrow pulled from head
The last thing Carrot the Deer probably wanted in 2020 was a hole in its head.
But the Canadian white-tailed deer, which made headlines last week for its shocking injury, no longer has an arrow on its head.
"What he's been through in the past few weeks - from getting a bolt through his head to removing and enduring the bitter winter ... I can't think of any other animal surviving," said Lee-Anne Carver, a wildlife photographer Hirsch has documented the unlikely story.
Related: Carrot the deer found in Ontario with arrow sticking out of its head
After photos of the injured deer went viral last week, conservation officials initially advised against removing the carbon fiber arrow, fearing it could cause infection.
However, officials at the Ontario Department of Natural Resources and Forestry decided that the risk of further injury meant they had to continue the delicate procedure.
A first attempt on Wednesday failed after Carrot continued to move after being calmed, but wildlife officials reassured him on Thursday and began extracting the arrow.
None of the teams in the remote Kenora community had ever performed such an operation, so a vet 2,000 km away in Ottawa gave detailed instructions over the phone.
The arrow was removed without bleeding, and on Monday the ministry announced it was "cautiously optimistic" that Carrot would make a full recovery. This finding was not inevitable, however: tranquilizers can often cause a fatal reaction in deer. After the arrow was removed, pus oozed from the wound and Carrot's tongue turned blue.
"He was really at risk at one point," said Carver. "I couldn't report that he was going to be okay because I'd seen him a few times since he wasn't looking good.
“It was more likely that he would die than live by what he had been through. There were no guarantees. "
Carver's lengthy Facebook updates on the state of Carrot have been followed by thousands of people around the world. Many children responded to their posts, saying they wanted to become veterinarians or offer their savings to help the deer recover.
After recovering from sedation, Carrot was not seen for several days and Carver became increasingly anxious.
She went looking for him again early Monday, driving down the snow-covered streets as the temperature approached -22 ° C.
Her heart sank when she saw a tree with a dozen ravens - the sign that an animal nearby had died. But after scouring the area in the bitter cold, she found no trace of carrot.
"I had just given up hope. Maybe it was just too much for him."
When she drove home at sunrise, however, she saw deer on the side of the road and gave a cry of joy as Carrot trotted across the road to lick her hands.
"I just can't believe it. My heart is so full of joy. He has pulled so many of us through this labyrinth of darkness and we have been made happy again," she said. "He really is the deer of the year."
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