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They Tried Vasectomies And Now May Try Bow Hunting, Staten Island Deer Population Reaches Out Of Control Levels

Staten Island residents and politicians have proposed bow hunting as a hopeful solution for deer overpopulation on the island.

One doesn’t usually think of herds of deer when imagining New York City, though, Staten Island’s deer population has reached staggering levels over the past ten years leaving residents facing a host of dangers and inconveniences, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Staten Island’s forested environment, lacking any deer predators, has proven an ideal habitat for the rapidly expanding population. Video was captured of deer swimming from New Jersey to Staten Island through the Arthur Kill waterway, according to the WSJ.

The deer have brought lime disease via ticks, ecological disruption, and an increased risk for traffic accidents on the island, according to the WSJ.

“You need to remove the deer. And I don’t mean relocate. They need to be taken out,” Staten Island resident Corey Bruggeman told the WSJ.

The Staten Island Parks Department contracted a company called White Buffalo to conduct vasectomies on the island’s male deer in 2016 in an attempt to curb population growth. The program cost $4.1 million, and has given vasectomies to 98% of the island’s male deer population so far, according to the WSJ.

The city has renewed its contract with White Buffalo for the next five years to continue the vasectomy program.

“We are at the end of a three-year program that has shown success,” the chief of education and wildlife for the Parks Department, Sarah Aucoin, said.

“Killing hundreds of deer was, and still is, a last resort,” she continued.

Although the program is seeing measurable success, its effects are manifesting very slowly. Staten Island Borough President James Oddo is concerned that the rates of Lyme disease contraction on the island have not waned in correlation with the vasectomy efforts, nor have the rates of car accidents caused by deer, the WSJ reports.

Cornell wildlife specialist Paul Curtis is also critical of the vasectomy program, explaining that it hasn’t been enough to address the issues caused by overpopulation.

“I wouldn’t consider that a success because at 15% to 20% drop, you’ll probably see very little difference in deer collisions, no difference in deer damage or foraging on sensitive plant communities, and no difference in Lyme disease rates,” Curtis explained.

Oddo says he wishes to organize a borough-wide cull or hunt of the animals by the end of the year in the hopes it can have a more substantive impact than the vasectomy program has.

A cull taking place in Staten Island could pose a safety concern, hunter Chris Kiladitris explains.

“There’s no place hunters can go and not worry about someone else coming into the forest with them,” he said.

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