FWC Reports on Status of Endangered Key Deer Population Following Hurricane Irma

By  //  September 26, 2017

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species protected since 1951

ABOVE VIDEO: Key deer are spotted in this video near Big Pine Key where Irma made landfall. 

(MY FWC.com) — The FWC has received a lot of questions about the status of the Key deer population following Hurricane Irma.

During past hurricanes, Key deer were able to seek shelter and survive. The deer have ample water and more food than they might be able to eat. After Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys, videos on the web surfaced showing Key deer were still there.

It’s possible some deer did not survive, but there is no evidence at this point to believe the population as a whole is in danger.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the National Key Deer Refuge, is the lead agency monitoring and managing Key deer.

The FWC will be working in close partnership with USFWS to survey and conserve this species post-storm. More information and updates from the Keys can be found on the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex Facebook page.

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According to the National Wildlife Refugee, the Key Deer is a subspecies of the white-tailed deer that once ranged throughout the lower Florida Keys, but now lives primarily in one area called Big Pine Key and surrounding small islands.

National Wildlife Federation has worked to protect the Key deer since 1951, when only about 25 of the animals still survived. That year they adopted a resolution at their annual meeting to safeguard them and soon after made “Save the Key Deer” the subject of National Wildlife Week.

Currently, fewer than 1,000 Key deer survive and their future remains precarious.

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