New York Suburb Will Start Giving Deer Birth Control as an Alternative to Violence
Just a few miles north of the Bronx is the two-mile long suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson, a city whose ratio of human to deer population is becoming more concerning each day. It is estimated that the small suburb has 70 to 120 deer currently residing there, which is alarming considering that experts estimate only 5 to 15 deer per square mile is safe and tolerable. Many people have experienced car collisions with deer and others have contracted Lyme disease from deer ticks, including the mayor and his family!
Mayor Peter Swiderski is working with Tufts University Center for Animals and Public Policy to become the first US suburb to try an alternative to hunting practices or violent “captive bolt” stunning and killing: birth control. Dr. Rutberg, the director for the center and who has been researching deer contraception for years, is optimistic about the plan. Assuming there will not be a drastic influx of deer from other areas, the town’s population could see a drastic decrease within five years.
Volunteers have already offered to assist with the process, including residents who will help visually monitor deer families and how much foliage the animals are eating in their backyard. Overall, Hastings-on-Hudson residents seem to be welcoming of the new experiment, as they have spoken out on other, more violent methods in the past. Dr. Rutberg says:
“Deer have entered our backyards and essentially become unruly guests. We are bound by suburban rules in dealing with them, and violence is not how we deal with neighbors we don’t like.”
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