Deer Vasectomies Proposed on New York’s Staten Island

Staten Island is not often thought of for its deer population, so you can understand when officials there came up with a unique method to cull the herd. Officials are moving forward with a 3-year, $2 million plan to administer deer vasectomies. 

For anyone who has ever objected to a systematic deer culling there is a new approach that’s, well, a bit more surgical. 

In Staten Island, New York where the deer population has reached record numbers, the Parks Department recently receive the go-ahead to begin the vasectomies. The plan comes on the heels of a task force recommendation that debated culling or extermination.

Each procedure takes about 15 minutes, which advocates say is easier and more humane than sterilizing females, according to Fox 5 New York. Female sterilization is another approach that townships typically take to avoid the all-out slaughter, otherwise known as culling. 

The deer in Staten Island have increasingly become a nuisance with numbers estimated at 1,000 deer in an 18.7 square mile area. 

The three-year plan calls for capturing hundreds of bucks, tranquilizing them and administering the procedure then setting them loose at a total cost of $3 million.

But some wildlife experts who have had experience with the proposal say it won’t work and worse yet,  could lead to a chaotic mating season, while females who are still fertile would continue to increase the ranks.

“It’s difficult for me to come up with all the reasons why this is a really stupid plan,” Bernd Blossey, a ecologist at Cornell University who consulted City Hall on deer management strategies in November told “It’s ridiculous from the onset.” 

Paul Curtis, an ecologist at Cornell who was part of the city’s interagency deer task force told the newspaper it has a “very low likelihood of success. In a study in Ithaca, NY, a few bucks were given vasectomies to observe the effects.

“We could only do three vasectomies — it wasn’t safe for the deer and wasn’t safe for us,” Curtis said. 

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