FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
NEWEST REPORT ON DEER IN STATEN ISLAND SHOWS OVERALL POPULATION DOWN 24%
NYC Parks today announced the results of the study to control Staten Island’s deer population. The study’s fourth population estimate, conducted in January 2020, estimated approximately 1,555 deer in the borough, an approximate 24% reduction in Staten Island’s deer population since January 2017. In addition, the estimate shows an approximate 84% decrease in fawn births since the program began.
Between 2019 and 2020, results showed the greatest drop in population since the program began, the largest rate of decrease. The first population assessment, conducted in January 2017, estimated approximately 2,053 deer living in Staten Island. In January 2018, study results estimated an overall population of 1,884 deer on Staten Island which dropped to approximately 1,737 the following year. The most recent estimate, from January 2020, shows approximately only 1,555 deer.
Most significantly, the results depict a clear relationship between the number of sterilized bucks and the decline in fawn births. There has been an annual decrease in the number of deer born since the sterilization study began that closely mimics the number of deer sterilized by year.
“We are committed to preserving high rates of sterilized deer on Staten Island and driving down the population even further,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “The City’s Deer Impact Management Plan is working and ensures a safe, healthy environment for all Staten Islanders.”
The City’s non-lethal, site-specific 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 April 2020, 93% 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 safely coexisting 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 least-preferred plants.
- Natural Resource Protections including new fences around planted forest, tree guards on new trees, deer least-preferred 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, and total deer numbers.
The initial study ran for three project years from 2016 to 2019. In 2019, Parks awarded a new five-year contract White Buffalo, Inc. to continue the population control study in order to preserve the high percentage of sterilized males.