Federal Government Sanctions Deer Cull

Posted Oct 7, 2009 by lauraallen

On October 1, 2009 the National Park Service’s approved the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final White-tailed Deer Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Final plan/EIS) at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

This means they plan to begin what is nothing more than a deer cull, a canned hunt of deer in the Park.

Park officials will begin an effort to kill off the herd by as much as 86%. The population is estimated to be 1,277 and officials want only 165-185 deer in the Park. They plan to shoot large numbers of deer each year for at least 3 years. Some deer will be trapped or captured using tranquilizer darts and then killed, probably with a captive bolt gun.  (Think horse slaughter or No Country for Old Men)

After these initial mass culls, park managers will use contraceptives and more shooting to maintain the herd population.  

This program will cost the government up to nearly $3 million.

Deer will be lured with food to certain areas where federal employees or contractors will be waiting with high-powered, silencer-equipped rifles, to kill them.  This hunting will be done generally at night.

It won’t take more than one massacre for the deer to understand the Park is no longer safe for them. The Park population has increased because of the dramatic loss of deer habitat from development around the Park.

Whether it’s wild horses and burros, feral cats or deer, humane measures seem beyond the federal government.

Indeed, a humane alternative was proposed by Dr. Patricia Cohn, a philosophy professor. She has studied this issue and though not convinced there are too many deer, she has offered $125,000 to pay for 1,000 doses of porcine zona pellucid, PZP, an immunocontraceptive, which is already used by the federal government on wild mares. PZP has also been used successfully to reduce deer herds at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland and at Fire Island National Seashore.  Dr. Cohn’s contribution would pay for training three people to fire dart guns with the PZP at female deer. The darts would also mark the deer as having been dosed with PZP.

Dr. Cohn would then provide through her organization, Pity Not Cruelty, money for fencing areas where deer eat, according to Park officials, too much of the ground level vegetation and saplings.

Park managers say more than 1,000 doses of PZP is needed and larger areas than Dr. Cohn has said suggested, must be fenced. Even so, isn’t this far more humane and cheaper than the Park’s cruel cull that will cost millions?

Park officials seem oblivious that culling the deer simply won’t work to reduce numbers. As in communities that kill feral cats instead of neutering them and returning them to their colonies, this canned hunt or deer cull will simply result in more deer. The herd will work to survive, and the result will be females breeding at younger ages and giving birth to more multiples.   

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Tell these officials you oppose the deer culls and urge them to use humane alternatives that do not involve killing deer!

Email the Valley Forge National Historical Park

Contact Valley Forge National Historical Park Superintendent Michael Caldwell by fax (610) 783-1038 or phone (610) 783-1037 or write him at 1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, PA 19406

Contact Dennis Reidenbach, Regional Director
National Park Service
U.S. Custom House
200 Chestnut Street, Fifth Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 597-7013

Contact the new Director of the National Park Service Jon Jarvis

National Park Service
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
(202) 208-3818

  

Contact Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Dept. of the Interior

Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

(202) 208-3100

——————————————————————————————–

I am writing Salazar today and you should too. A link to his email is on this site, just do a search for it. This is ridiculous. In the new times we live in sending a message that our wildlife can simply be killed and carted off is not the message that the public need to hear. This is taking a big step backward and it needs to be stopped.


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