FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 31, 2019
REPORT: DRAMATIC DECREASE IN DEER BIRTH RATE ON STATEN ISLAND SIGNALS DOWNWARD TREND IN OVERALL POPULATION
NYC Parks today announced the results of the study to control the Staten Island deer population. Three years into the City’s Deer Impact Management Plan, a survey conducted by White Buffalo, Inc., verified by NYC Parks, estimates the borough’s deer population has dropped by 15%. In addition, the survey results showed a 77% decrease in fawn births from when the program began. The percentage decrease in fawn births mirrors the percentage of males sterilized. Based on the decline in fawn births and adult deer mortality estimates, we expect further reductions in the deer population over time with the continuation of the program.
The first population count, conducted in January 2017, estimated approximately 2,053 deer living in Staten Island. The most recent estimate, from January 2019, shows approximately only 1,737 deer. NYC Parks is currently finalizing a new five-year contract to continue the population control study in order to preserve the high percentage of sterilized males.
"I'm happy to report back to Staten Islanders that our humane strategy to confront the large deer population is working," said Mayor de Blasio. "Year after year, the numbers are showing a clear downward trend."
“The City’s Deer Impact Management Plan is working,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Based on the 77% decrease in fawn births, combined with continued efforts to keep sterilization rates high, we expect Staten Islanders to begin seeing less deer on their streets and in their parks.”
At high population levels, white-tailed deer can pose significant challenges to human health and safety through deer-vehicle collisions and associations with tick-borne illnesses, and have a detrimental impact on both forest biodiversity and tree regeneration. Deer have no natural predators in Staten Island.
The City’s five-pronged Deer Impact Management Plan, launched in May 2016, includes the following elements:
• Sterilization Study focused on male deer, and designed and implemented with consideration for the nature of these animals and their reproductive patterns. As of May 2019, 98% of the antlered males on Staten Island had been sterilized.
• Traffic Safety Measures to reduce deer-vehicle collisions including signage, and education.
• Extensive Public Education focusing on living safely with deer in an urban environment, including driver education to reduce deer-vehicle collisions, public health education to reduce the incidence of tick bites and tick-borne illnesses, and environmental education to discourage feeding and encourage the planting of deer resistant plants.
• Natural Resource Protections include new fences around planted forest, tree guards on new trees, deer-resistant plantings and further protective measures.
• Impact Monitoring to understand the problems that deer can cause and to measure the success of the Deer Impact Management Plan. The City is monitoring the number and location of collisions between vehicles and deer, the presence of ticks and the incidence of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, the impact of deer on the health of forests and greenspaces, the number and location of deer carcasses, and the deer population, including their death rate, birth rate, movement, and total deer numbers.