(NY) Sterilization as a method of Managing Wildlife


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12GA
April 28, 2003, 01:13 PM
This sounds nuts to me, but not as nuts as PETA's viewpoint that if a deer dies of starvation, hey, it's nature taking it's course. :banghead:

Innovative Ways to Control Deer Population (http://www.syracuse.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/cgi-free/getstory_ssf.cgi?n0932_BC_NY--DeerControl&&news&nystatenews)


State seeks innovative ways to control deer population

By SEANNA ADCOX
The Associated Press
4/27/03 1:40 PM


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The state's declining number of hunters and legal places to hunt have forced biologists to find new ways to keep New York's rising deer population in check.

Last month, wildlife biologists at Cornell University caught and surgically sterilized a pregnant doe, then released her back into the woods near the school campus.

The three-hour procedure March 8 involved catching the animal in a net trap, subduing her with a tranquilizer, transporting her to the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine for a tubal ligation, then tagging and releasing her. The 21-month-old, first-time mom cannot get pregnant again.

But Doe 106, as dubbed by the tag, is just one of an estimated 1.1 million deer statewide, up from 966,000 in 1999 and 720,000 in 1989, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Officials caution that the success of the sterilization experiment -- only the second of its size nationwide -- might not be known for years.

State biologists consider much of upstate overpopulated with deer, which cause an estimated 70,000 vehicle accidents yearly in New York, 2,800 of which end in human injuries, said Paul Curtis, a Cornell professor and wildlife specialist.

If too many deer live in one rural area, some die of starvation over the winter. In suburbia, where laws keep dogs on leashes and forbid hunting, deer tend to bravely venture into backyards and munch on whatever greenery they can find. In growing season, they gorge on crops.

One deer can eat up to five pounds of "browse" daily, said Sonny Knowlton, a DEC wildlife technician in western New York.

"In a suburban situation, we're not only providing refuge, we're providing good food. It's like we're inviting them to dinner," said Dick Henry, a DEC big game biologist. "Deer have learned to live around people."

The state dispenses deer nuisance permits to landowners who sustain damage outside the regular fall hunting season. In 2002, New York issued 1,464 such permits, mostly for damage to corn crops, orchards and shrubbery, Henry said.

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, 50 miles north of New York City, secured a nuisance permit in mid-January, after deer ate $100,000 worth of bushes on the 16,000-acre site. Eight academy employees shot 22 deer -- using a bow and arrow near campus -- before the permit expired in early March, said James Beemer, West Point wildlife biologist.

"It's not a hunt. It's more like a pest control operation," he said.

Cornell plans to catch and sterilize another doe this fall in Cayuga Heights, a village bordering Ithaca with 220 deer within its 1.8 square miles. About 30 doe need to be sterilized yearly to decrease the village deer population to a desired 35 to 55, Curtis said.

But sterilization is an option for stabilizing deer populations only within a small area -- no more than a few square miles -- bordered by a large lake or other barrier to prevent deer migration, Curtis said.

The birth control method also is too expensive to work on a large scale. Equipping the veterinary surgical room cost $35,000, and the cost of capturing each deer runs about $300 for the tranquilizer and tags, he said.

In 2000, state biologists began re-examining how to best sustain deer numbers statewide.

"We recognized that the tools we used in the past are not going to get the job done," Henry said.

About 650,000 people hold a license to hunt deer in New York, down from a high of 850,000 in the 1980s. That trend is expected to continue since most hunters are older than 50, he said.

After compiling suggestions, the state last year revised its hunting license system to allow hunters to kill more deer, particularly adult does, which bear a set of twins each year.

"The removal of bucks plays a role, but controlling the breeding of females is bigger," Henry said.

The Georgia-based Quality Deer Management Association has adopted that philosophy and hopes to change hunters' tendency to kill antlered bucks.

"We advocate shooting more does than bucks to have a quality deer herd," said John Landin of Ashville, who started the association's western New York branch last November.

Such comments anger members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which argues against any form of deer "management."

"We don't need to manage wildlife. Wildlife are managing themselves," said PETA wildlife biologist Stephanie Boyles. "Overpopulation is dependent on one's opinion of how many deer should be in one's own backyard."

If a deer dies of starvation, she said, "let nature take its course."


Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved

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PATH
May 2, 2003, 03:25 AM
Next we'll have sex ed courses and condom hand outs for the bucks. Hey, this is New York after all!:D

12GA
May 3, 2003, 03:02 PM
Too true. Hey, maybe NY can turn it into a revenue generator to help us out of our fiscal crisis? I say we charge the bucks for the condoms - they have the doe, afterall. :p

Uh, sorry about that one. :o

Art Eatman
May 3, 2003, 03:24 PM
"Puns are the lowest form of humor," said my Grammaw, rolling on the floor with laughter...

""We don't need to manage wildlife. Wildlife are managing themselves," said PETA wildlife biologist Stephanie Boyles. "Overpopulation is dependent on one's opinion of how many deer should be in one's own backyard.""

Yeah, right. She oughta talk to a few homeowners who would rather have some flowers in their yard, than herds of deer during a dry spell. However, I'm glad she leaves this up to the homeowner's opinion, although I'm sure that wasn't her intent. :D

Art

MeekandMild
May 3, 2003, 09:06 PM
If a deer dies of starvation, she said, "let nature take its course." If she is sold as a troop morale slave to the Sudanese army I say let nature take its course. ;)

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