Program will not even reduce deer population to environmentally safe level.
We have written before about the deer sterilization program in Cayuga Heights, which borders the Cornell campus (most people think of it as Ithaca, but it’s actually a separate municipality).
I have written before about the moral angst sweeping the upscale Village of Cayuga Heights, bordering the Cornell campus and home to a large number of professors and staff, over how to control the out-of-control deer population.
After years of debate, which tore the community apart, Cayuga Heights has come up with a solution:
The board of trustees passed a resolution Monday night to begin implementation of the phased options approach to deer management. The village will begin with the surgical sterilization of 20-60 does within a two-year period, followed by the culling of the remainder of the herd.
The cost per sterilization? Don’t ask:
The first phase of sterilization is estimated to take two years at an average cost of $1,200 per doe, according to the statement.
If they do for our health care system what they’ve done for the deer of Cayuga Heights, we’re sunk.
How did it work out?
The Ithaca Journal reports, Cayuga Heights spends $35K to sterilize 12 does:
The latest round of village deer sterilizations removed ovaries from 12 deer in December and cost taxpayers $35,808.
Does were shot with tranquilizer darts and taken to a temporary surgical facility, according to a report by White Buffalo Inc. The company conducted the sterilizations and reported that no deer died during capture, surgery or release….
Costs for this winter’s doe sterilization were well above early estimates, set at $1,000 per animal. The cost for the December sterilizations was $2,984 per deer.
“The cost per deer rises when you’re trying to pick the last few out,” Cayuga Heights Mayor Kate Supron said. A high percentage of sterilized does is crucial for deer population control, she added.
During December 2012, the village spent $148,315 to remove ovaries from 137 female deer, an average of $1,082.
For the 2013 fiscal year, Cayuga Heights spent $8,294 in legal consulting fees on deer population control, and $21,277 for a Cornell University study on the number of deer in the village.
So will the plan even work? No, under current estimates it still will leave the deer populiation 4-5 times the environmentally healthy level, as the Journal further reports:
Paul Curtis, a wildlife specialist in Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources, said the population is well above what’s healthy for the environment. Curtis recommended that suburban communities, such as Cayuga Heights, have deer population densities below 15 to 20 deer per square mile.
Supron said a 10 percent to 15 percent drop in the village’s deer herd is expected. Most village deer are no longer breeding, and others are being killed by cars or natural causes.
“That would still leave us with over 100 deer per square mile,” Supron said.
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