From the CliftonDeer.org Team:
With the sterilization of eight more does last Fall, year 3 of field operations brought the total number of treated deer to 59, or 91% of our total adult female deer population. Based on field camera counts, the herd within our study area has shrunk by 19% since we started. This rate of reduction is steady and contrasts sharply with the 30% increase reported by the Parks in the year before we started. A more detailed Year 3 Field Operations Report can be found on our website here.
Our goal this Fall is to reach 95% by capturing the most elusive does over a series of weekend operations. In addition to the wile ones who browse happily at our bait sites until just before the darter arrives (never question the intelligence of these critters), we will also be seeking out the “borderland deer” whose territory overlaps with but extends beyond the study area. This should result in more of the benefits of the deer program reaching the streets within the study area closest to Clifton and Ludlow Avenues.
We are happy to report the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has renewed our research permit to continue operations for another two years. While the numbers from this study, and others around the country, are already showing clear indications sterilization can effectively reduce deer populations in open urban settings, another two years of data will be important to reaching any firm conclusions that might support requests to States for permission to use fertility control as an ongoing urban deer population management tool.
One component of the study, and a critical requirement for the long term viability of sterilization as a management alternative, is making it cost effective. Obviously, this means comparing sterilization’s effectiveness in reducing deer overabundance to other methods, but it also means finding economically viable ways for communities to implement programs like this one. To that end, Clifton Deer is in it’s second year of recruiting and training local volunteer veterinary surgeons and a darter-capture specialist. Transitioning from reliance on expensive out-of-town experts to assumption of these duties by local professionals and volunteers could greatly improve the cost side of the cost effectiveness calculation.
Finally, we are proud to report that as one of the few, and maybe the only citizen initiated and managed fertility control program in the country, CliftonDeer.org was invited by the international Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control to present at a national conference on deer fertility control in New York on May 2nd. The success of the Clifton project has drawn the attention of experts from around the country. A video of that conference should soon be available on the Botstiber website at https://www.wildlifefertilitycontrol.org/.
As always, we are grateful for the support of our Clifton neighbors who donate and volunteer their yards and time to make this project possible. Fundraising for the Fall ’18 operations has begun and your help is needed. Please consider a tax deductible donation through one of the methods explained on our website at http://cliftondeer.org/donations/.
Have you met Doe #32? Still looking healthy and happy at almost 9 years of age, this gentle doe makes her home in the woods and yards around Mt. Storm Park and is often seen with her BFF, 5 year old Doe #7. Both were sterilized during our December 2015 field operations. (Photo Credit: Sally Skillman)
Bob Rack, co-founder of CliftonDeer.org, giving Clifton international exposure at the Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control conference in NYC earlier this month.
The CliftonDeer.org Team