Block Island Deer Population to be Culled
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has filed emergency regulations establishing a non-recreational program to reduce the overpopulation of Virginia white-tailed deer that currently presents an imminent risk to the health, safety and welfare of Block Island’s natural resources.
DEM said it has determined that implementation of a non-recreational deer reduction program is required in order to protect the fragile habitats and natural communities found on Block Island.
The density of white-tailed deer in the 9.75-square-mile town of New Shoreham is estimated at 80-100 deer per square mile. This estimated population range was established by direct counts from an aerial sampling survey, and is about eight to 10 times the desirable level for cultural tolerance and ecological health on Block Island, according to DEM.
The town and its residents have raised concerns about crop and landscape damage caused by the excess deer population and impacts on the Island’s ecosystem. Traditional management methods have been unsuccessful in reducing the Island’s deer population, according to DEM.
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