GUTTED' is the feeling of staff at St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Haddenham after the sad death of little Rupert a tiny muntjac deer on Wednesday afternoon.
The six inch baby who was delivered by caesarean section earlier this week was dicing with death from the beginning of birth after his mother died from serious head injuries.
At just over a pound in weight he was kept in a life supporting incubator in intensive care and was thought to be two or three weeks premature. He had all the symptoms of a premature human baby. His lungs were not inflating properly and problems emerged after he was not able to ingest his mothers milk (colostrum).
Staff tried to give him the milk of a lamb but unfortunately he did not digest that properly because he needed his mother's bacteria.
Staff knew that he had an unpredictable chance of survival but held onto hope as they tried this method of keeping him alive. It is only their second baby deer at the centre which they have had to deliver by caesarean and so everything was under trial and error.
Founder of the centre, Les Stocker predicted that the odds were against Rupert earlier in the week when he spoke to The Bucks Herald. He said that everyone was worried about him as they had not seen anything so tiny.
Talking about the death, Les said that next time they will try warm milk straight from a goat at a nearby farm. He added: "The nurses are absolutely choked as well as the foster mother who took him on.
"It is all a new science looking after wildlife casualties and this is just one more to add to our experience."