The village of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. is now using a deer birth control vaccine on female deer to reduce the city’s bothersome urban deer population.
Hastings is home to an estimated 120 urban deer, which have become a nuisance to residents. The deer eat destroy landscaping, walk across public roads and pose a risk to motorists. To reduce their numbers, Hastings is trying a deer birth control program that has never been used in suburban areas before.
USA Today reported that a pair of researchers from the Humane Society are injecting female deer with contraceptive vaccine in an effort to prevent them from reproducing. The duo are driving around the Hasting’s streets searching for deer, and injecting them with the vaccine when they find them.
“This is a lot like hunting,” said Rick Naugle, one of the Humane Society researchers. “You have to figure out where they’re at and how to get close enough to get shots at them.”
Previous deer birth control vaccination projects have been done on islands and controlled areas, but never in a dense suburban town like Hastings.
Residents have to give Naugle and his partner Kayla Grams permission to walk on to their property and vaccinate deer. So far, most of the town’s residents are on board. Some residents are even walking up to the duo in their SUV asking to be signed up for the project.
Hastings “This is a lot like hunting. You have to figure out where they’re at and how to get close enough to get shots at them.” Mayor Peter Swiderski estimates that 200 more residents will need to sign up for the project for it to be successful. He believes the deer birth control vaccination project is the best way to reduce urban deer in hastings. He said that lethal options are out of the question because of hunting restrictions in the dense suburban area and strong opposition from the public.
Hastings isn’t the only New York town to strongly oppose lethal deer culling. The Town and Village of East Hampton strongly opposed a deer culling program that would have used federal sharpshooters to reduce urban deer populations. That program almost went into action, but several residents protested, and some went so far as to file a restraining order to prevent the program from moving forward.
Time will tell if Hastings’ deer birth control vaccination program will be effective.
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