Press Releases

Wednesday, July 07, 2021
No. 66


Cases of Lyme disease decreased by 60%, the lowest since 2017

NYC Parks today announced the results of the study to control Staten Island’s deer population. The study’s fifth population estimate, conducted in January 2021, estimated approximately 1,616 deer in the borough, an approximate 21% reduction in Staten Island’s deer population since January 2017.

Results showed an overall drop in population since the program began. The first population assessment, conducted in January 2017, estimated approximately 2,053 deer living in Staten Island. The most recent estimate, from January 2021, shows approximately 1,616 deer. Most significantly, the number of fawn births on Staten Island decreased by 60% since the program began.

The City’s non-lethal, site specific Deer Impact Management Plan, launched in May 2016, has taken transformative steps to reduce future impacts of an overabundant deer population. Natural resource protection efforts, driver awareness campaigns, deer signage installations, and tick monitoring efforts are just a few of the many steps taken to reduce the impacts of deer on the city and its residents. This year’s analysis reflects promising progress including:

  • 60% decline in reported Lyme disease cases
  • 44% decrease in the number of reported deer vehicle collisions
  • 8% decrease in the number of deer carcasses collected for disposal
  • 2% reduction in deer vegetation browse compared to Project Year 1

As high population levels of white-tailed deer can pose significant challenges to human health and safety, the sterilization study and other management efforts have proven to be effective in reducing impacts of an overabundant deer population on Staten Island. Without these measures in place, the deer population would be higher, and Staten Islanders would be experiencing more severe impacts. 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.

In February 2021, NYC Parks released a virtual report, Managing Deer Impacts on Staten Island, to provide New Yorkers with a detailed analysis of the City’s Deer Impact Management Plan. The virtual report is part of the City’s WildlifeNYC campaign, created to encourage peaceful coexistence with New York City’s urban wildlife populations.

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