Sun, Jul 24, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Deer ‘detention center’ proposed for Kenting

By Tsai Tsung-hsien and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Pingtung County’s Manzhou Township (滿州) Mayor Chuang Chi-wen (莊期文) proposed corralling Formosan sika deer living in the Kenting (墾丁) region after repeated complaints over the agricultural damage caused by the deer have gone unanswered by the government.

There are about 2,000 Formosan sika deer in the region, many of which are moving north, presumably due to a shortage of food caused by overpopulation, the Manzhou Township Council said.

Large groups of deer have moved into the vicinity of Donggang Township (東港) and have been seen near black soya bean and dragon fruit farms, Chuang said, adding that any further movements to the north — toward the Nanjenshan (南仁山) Ecological Conservation Area — would be an ecological disaster for Kenting National Park.

The “errant deer” must be detained, Chuang said.

Chuang proposed that a “detention center” be established to contain deer caught on agricultural lands, adding that the center should be open to tourists so that it could generate funds that would be distributed to farmers as compensation for their losses.

He said that the concept was modeled after modern correction facilities, where criminals serving their sentences produce goods, such as handcrafted items or soy sauce, to be sold.

The township is also considering the possibility of sterilizing captured male deer to help control their population, Chuang said.

The parks built for the conservation of Formosan sika deer are mostly empty, while wild deer are causing damage to farms, Chuang said.

The township has earmarked a certain amount of money for the construction of facilities to contain sika deer that have ventured into fields, Chuang said, adding that the deer are to be captured using non-lethal methods.

Kenting National Park Administration Office Director Liu Pei-tung (劉培東) said the office could only provide aid in the form of setting up barriers around farms.

Academics are looking for solutions, such as short-term contraceptive medication, to be used on the deer, Liu said, adding that the office is also looking into improved methods of setting up barriers to prevent the deer from venturing into fields.

The office said it is willing to let the township go ahead with its plan, but added that the township might want to conduct research on how to capture the deer and increase the funds it set aside for the center.

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