Conservation Groups Sue Fire Island National Park Service Over Plan to Kill Hundreds of Deer
Fire Island National Park Service and Fire Island National Seashore are facing some backlash over their “White-tailed Deer Management Plan,” which aims to reduce the deer population on the William Floyd Estate by hundreds.
Conservation groups Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Wildlife Preserves, Inc. (WPI) have sued to block the killing of deer, arguing it violates the National Environmental Policy Act because it fails to look at other options for deer control. The groups also claim it violates an existing agreement between the two parties. As a result, AWI and WPI filed a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against FINS and NPS superintendent Kelly Fellner.
The conservation groups first sued FINS and NPS back in 2017 to block the slaughter of deer, and the Fire Island organizations agreed to delay killing the deer pending litigation. However, in February 2019, FINS and NPS sent a letter to the conservation groups informing them they planned on violating the agreement and were to go forward with the deer management plan.
“The NPS entered into a legally binding agreement, and the agency is required to honor its obligations, not brush them aside when those obligations are no longer convenient,” Johanna Hamburger, wildlife attorney for AWI, explained.
AWI and WPI believe controlling the deer population by upgraded fencing or sterilization is a better solution to the deer’s negative impact on vegetation as well as conflicts between the deer and human populations.
“The goal of this effort is to provide a healthy forest habitat for all plants and animals, and to preserve the historic landscape of the William Floyd Estate,” Fire Island National Seashore superintendent Alex Romero said in a statement. “Without intervention, there is little hope for these habitats to recover from the impacts of an overabundance of deer.”
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