Yesterday, Floracita ate alfalfa cubes and oats in a Rio Linda paddock. Today, the 2-year-old black-tailed deer is fending for herself in the wilds of Northern California.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials took the doe yesterday from a Rio Linda family who had raised her since she was a fawn. The department responded to a tip that the family was keeping the prohibited animal as a pet.
Floracita's release into the wild today was first noted on Fish and Wildlife's Facebook page and confirmed by department officials.
The surprise release came just one day after Fish and Wildlife spokesman Mark Michilizzi said "the chances it will be left to the wild are very slim" because the deer lived with the Rio Linda family for two years. State officials initially took the deer to a rehabilitation center in Rancho Cordova.
"After careful consideration and speaking with the family, CDFW staff determined the doe is a good candidate for release and is now being transported to a suitable wildlife area," the department said in its post.