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Deer Extermination, Point Reyes update, April 2007


Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
I am once again turning our web design/SEO blog into a personal platform from which to speak about the extermination of the beautiful fallow and axis deer in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore region of California.
If this is news to you, and you would like to learn more about this, here is my original post about the plan to kill the deer and here is my followup post which I wrote after speaking with Dr. Elliot Katz of In Defense of Animals regarding the fallow and axis deer.
When I wrote the above two posts, the National Park Service had yet to announce their final decision on whether these so-called ‘non-native’ inhabitants of the park should be killed. At that point, they were threatening to do this, and the towns all across West Marin County responded by posting signs on their houses, fences, businesses and vehicles urging the community to Save the White Deer. The wishes of the locals were completely ignored by the NPS and they will now move forward with a planned slaughter of 75% of the deer, with the other 25% being exterminated via contraception.
Again and again, my husband and I have driven out the the seashore, our favorite place on the planet, to glimpse the gentle deer during this past year. Each time, we wonder if it will be our last opportunity to spend a quiet moment amongst the grazing herds of the white, black and speckled creatures who have enriched our lives with a sense of wonder and awe. The thought of their brutal deaths being at hand has cast such a pall over the atmosphere of the splendid national seashore for us.
And this was why, when I stumbled belatedely upon a January article in the Pt. Reyes Light, I felt I got one small breath of relief. As is reported in this article the monks of the Vedanta Society will not allow the NPS to shoot deer on the 2,200 acres of their retreat grounds in Olema, California, right in the middle of the park. The creed of this community prohibits viewing earthly creatures as ‘things’, due to their belief in an essential unity amongst all living beings. Tears came to my eyes reading this article and understanding from it that there are neighbors out there who share my own sense of a respect for life itself. To quote one of the monks:
“We’re also interlopers. The most invasive non-natural species in this area is man. But since humans do not see themselves this way, no one advocates the culling of humans in West Marin or anywhere else.”
Sadly, the article goes on to say that the leader of the Vedanta Society will permit the NPS to enact their sterilization plan within retreat grounds, so this is not a happy ending for the deer who will suffer depression, disorientation and bewilderment when they find they cannot bear children. But, at the very least, this stance by the Vedanta Society monks may give us a little more time. Anything that gives you time when you are dealing with a group of government-sanctioned armed men has got to be a blessing…and perhaps a chance for someone else to come forward with a plan to give sanctuary to the helpless deer.
I also want to include a second link in this update post to an article in the other West Marin newspaper – the Coastal Post. Richard Kirschman’s piece on trying to get the park rangers to prove that the deer are causing any damage to the park is extremely illuminating in that it shows the inability of the NPS to provide an iota of evidence for their unresearched claims that the deer somehow harm the environment. I quote:
“…when I tried to track down the claim that the native black tail deer populations were being disadvantaged I could find no one in the Park Service who knew for sure even how many native deer there are, or how many there used to be. No way to back up any claims of harm.”
Kirschman’s research led him to the conclusion that I have now heard from everyone I have spoken about this issue to: this is all about money. The NPS doesn’t want to spend the time actually investigating how the deer interact with local environs. They don’t want to spend the money paying their rangers to do this. By killing the deer, they only need to pay for bullets.
I have attempted to follow up with In Defense of Animals, but their representative could not give me an update regarding the potential lawsuit against the NPS that Dr. Katz had mentioned to me during our initial phone conversation. IDA has not updated their website about this matter. It is still asking for people to write to the NPS to ask that they not vote to kill the fallow and axis deer. It is now too late for this, and I so hope that the IDA has not forgotten about what is happening with the deer.
The above information is all I have been able to find over the past few months. I do not know if the shooting has yet begun. I do not know if the day the rangers will begin killing the deer is being kept a secret in order to prevent the community from organizing a protest on a specific date. I do not even know how many of the people of West Marin are opposed to the slaughter of the deer with whom they share the land.
Are you?
If you are, please consider commenting here. This is your place to have a voice that will be listened to. This blog is ranking in Google’s Top 10 for this subject. This is the place to say you do not want the deer to disappear. Do you have any news about this? Any ideas? I would like to hear from you. Thank you.