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March 3, 2014
Specially trained biologists killed 11 deer at Teatown Lake Reservation last month to reduce the number of mouths munching on the preserve's forest.
Teatown leaders said the cull was an efficient first step in managing the overabundant deer population and helping its forest regenerate. While many neighbors spoke out against the plan and a few filed an unsuccessful lawsuit, others said they supported the nonprofit's effort.
"A lot of people were opposed to the deer cull. Killing beautiful animals isn't easy," neighbor Laura Whitlinger said. "There's just so many of them. They've out-foraged themselves."
With almost no predators, almost no hunting and the bounty of lawns, gardens and open spaces, the suburbs provide excellent deer habitat, according to experts.
Teatown received a state permit in December to kill up to 75 deer although officials expected the total would be closer to 30. Shooting took place at night at baited stations and away from homes. The first of the four nights was Feb. 12 and the permit expired on Friday. Snow and very cold temperatures hampered the effort, Teatown said.
"Teatown is committed to managing its deer herd to protect and reinvigorate the biodiversity of its preserve. This is our mission and we are committed to seeing it through," executive director Kevin Carter said in a statement.
The meat was donated to food pantries.
Opponents suggested other methods, like fencing, contraceptives or enlisting bow hunters. But Teatown said those options were too expensive or couldn't be adapted to its large size.
"Wildlife is being scapegoated and brutalized all over the country; it is unacceptable to perform such outrageous killing at a 'nature preserve' as well," said an online petition created by the Animal Defenders of Westchester.
In a series of FAQs posted on its website, the nonprofit said "deer management will be an ongoing activity at Teatown."
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