upholds plan to cull white-tailed deer population on Fire Island
There are about 400 white-tailed deer on Fire Island, where
this one was in December 2015, and 100 at the William Floyd Estate in
Mastic Beach on a portion of the seashore on the mainland, according to the
Fire Island National Seashore website. Credit: Ed Betz
By Vera Chinese email@example.com @VeraChinese Updated February 3, 2020 5:51 PM
federal appellate court on Monday ruled in favor of Fire Island
National Seashore’s plan to control the white-tailed deer population with
hunters and euthanasia, upholding a lower court decision.
Officials at Fire
Island National Seashore released a management plan in 2015 to address the
impact of the deer, which are known to eat vegetation and carry tick-borne
diseases. There are approximately 400 deer on Fire Island and 100 at the
William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach on a portion of the seashore on the
mainland, according to the Fire Island National Seashore website.
management method calls for fencing and reducing the population to 20 to
25 deer per square mile, or about 220 on Fire Island and 24 at the estate,
through sharpshooting, euthanasia and public hunting.
and New York-based Friends of Animals filed a lawsuit in U.S. Eastern
District Court in 2016 claiming officials at Fire Island National Seashore and
the National Park Service did not adhere to the National Environmental Policy
Act, which requires consideration of alternative methods of population control
in crafting the plan.
three-judge panel in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in
Manhattan disagreed, upholding a July 2018 decision by U.S. District Court
Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein, who sits in Central Islip.
“A review of the
copious administrative record reveals that, far from failing to take a hard
look, the agency made a reasoned decision after years of discussion and study
by numerous experts,” Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch wrote in the 28-page
decision handed down Monday. “In short, it is abundantly clear that NPS took a
hard look at the environmental consequences of the Plan.”
an attorney representing Friends of Animals, said the group was
disappointed in the decision, which it contends will result in hundreds of
deer "unnecessarily slaughtered." She said the agency should
have instead considered accommodating the deer in a wilderness section of Fire
Animals remains very concerned about the future of this wonderful and beautiful
species on Fire Island National Seashore, especially considering the fact that
this plan calls for the quick eradication of 80% of the deer
population,” McVean said.
of the National Park Service could not be reached for comment.
Animals had argued that contraception would be more effective to control the
deer, which thrive on Fire Island due to lack of predators and an
abundant food source.
Officials at Fire
Island National Seashore have said no contraception meets all its
requirements, such as not altering deer behavior and not tainting its meat.
were culled at the estate in March 2019, with more culls planned for that
location and Fire Island.
A conversation with FINS Ofc. Belicki indicated that no definitive date has
been reached for the event. They are looking for a qualified team of profession
animal control agencies from the USDA..
He assures that a
news release will be posted before and after.
When asked how
they will maintain the required limit of 20-25 deer per mile Bilecki said: we
will "monitor" the population for the next three years after which we
hope an alternate solution will be available.
contraception program meets approval by the FDA we will implement that".
He claims that the aforementioned program already tested was declared
officially unacceptable and results island wide unsuccessful.