Deer in the built and "natural" environment
Tuesday's Post Science section has a piece, "How many deer are too many in Rock Creek Park?," on the ongoing discussion of how to deal with the exploding deer population mostly around Rock Creek Park.
The National Park Service proposed some culling, while various animal rights advocates have proposed birth control instead.
Image left: Chevy Chase, Maryland resident Roy Bowman photographed a number of deer dining on his backyard and sent the photo to the Post as part of a letter to the editor.
In any case, there are more deer than the man-shaped environment can support, especially considering that the natural environment has been shaped in ways where typical deer predators no longer are present, putting the system at an imbalance.
Interestingly, the Independent (UK) has a surprising related article, "Only mass deer cull can prevent destruction of British woodlands and wildife, say scientists," about how a new study in the UK has determined that the deer population in the Countryside is similarly larger than the environment can support, which comes at the expense of plant life and birds.
So this isn't just a problem in cities and suburbs, but also in the country, where hunting and other restrictions have boosted deer populations as well.
My joke with regard to the Rock Creek Park problem (and it's not just the actual park, it extends to the park lands that are part of the Fort Circle Parks greenway system--I regularly see deer around Fort Totten and on Gallatin Street NE on the way to and from Mt. Rainier) is that if people don't want to support hunting, then we ought to reintroduce cougars or other large fauna that are deer predators back into the environment to reduce the deer population "more naturally."
2. On the other hand, venison meatballs anyone?
3. The Independent article mentions how with thermal imaging equipment, it's possible to be more surgical in terms of deer hunting.