New York 1, DEC. 2 -- The federal government is weighing in on Staten Island's exploding deer population saying something must be done to bring it under control. The city is now exploring its options - and one of them could be killing some of the animals. Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Experts believe more than a thousand deer live on Staten Island - a huge increase from just six years ago when only two dozen were reported.
The soaring population has caught the attention of the federal government, which now agrees with local officials that this corner of America's largest city has a deer problem.
"As a New Yorker, you are in a high risk state as per the car insurance companies. You have a one in 160 chance to be in a collision with a deer within the next year. We are, New York, is in the top 10 states in terms of Lymes disease," said Borough President James Oddo.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a 160-page report this week analyzing the deer problem statewide, including on Staten Island.
A city task force will analyze the findings as it drafts a plan to deal with the borough's deer which are turning up on lawns and even on highways.
The report offers a glimpse at what might be done to help control the population across the state, from fencing deer into certain areas to relocating or even killing them.
"There's going to have to be a reduction of the size of this herd," Oddo noted.
Hunting by private individuals is illegal in the city, but the report suggests deer could be killed by trained government marksmen or though some form of euthanasia.
However, some animal rights activists say they would oppose such actions in the city.
"Killing is not the answer, and certainly not as the first step," said David Karopkin of Goosewatch NYC.
"There's sort of a psychological barrier that has to be overcome. And particularly because it's an area where there hadn't been deer for so long and so people are amazed to see them," said Brian Palestis, a biology professor at Wagner College.
Oddo says he's not pushing for hunting, but that using lethal methods will be unavoidable.
"You can't sign, fence, or birth control your way out of it. Are they part of an integrated approach? Yea, that's what the experts say. Are they the solutions in and of themselves? It hasn't worked in other jurisdictions," Oddo said.
Borough residents are urged to read and weigh in on the report.
The public comment period ends January 15.
Story text and video downloaded on Dec. 3, 2015 from http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/12/2/feds-examine-soaring-deer-population-on-staten-island.html