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Cincinnati, Ohio Neighborhood Launches Deer Fertility Control Research Project

Program is the first of its kind in Ohio

The Cincinnati Neighborhood of Clifton is participating in a unique three-to-five year study to determine the feasibility of managing the white-tailed deer population through fertility control. This program was developed through collaboration between Cincinnati Parks and the residents of Clifton. The program focuses on three neighborhood parks: Mt. Storm Park, Rawson Woods and Edgewood Grove.

Under a research permit issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, veterinarians and capture professionals managed by eco-system and wildlife population research consultant, White Buffalo Inc., spent the first week of December in Cincinnati anesthetizing, sterilizing and tagging female deer in and around the three parks. Wildlife biologists from The Humane Society of the United States and a team of local volunteers participated in the program. 

Anthony J. DeNicola, PhD, president of White Buffalo Inc. said: “So many communities around the nation want to know whether it is possible to manage their overabundant deer herds through non-lethal means alone. The research being done in Clifton will help to provide definitive answers.”

Based on preliminary field observations, DeNicola estimates that the 41 does sterilized during the first year of operations represent about 90 percent of the local adult doe population.  This estimate may be revised based on a more definitive population survey presently underway. Future year efforts will focus on female fawns and any new deer immigrating to the area. By significantly restricting herd growth through the reduction of the fawning rate, the deer population should stabilize and then gradually decline over time through natural attrition, with the rate of attrition depending in part on deer migration patterns.

Stephanie Boyles Griffin, senior director of Innovative Wildlife Management & Services at The Humane Society of the United States, who also participated in the program, said, “We are proud to collaborate with CliftonDeer.Org on their groundbreaking efforts to research humane, effective and sustainable deer management methods. If successful, we hope the project will serve as a model for municipalities to replicate not only in Ohio, but throughout the entire country.”

In September, The Humane Society of the United States awarded a $20,000 grant to CliftonDeer.org, the local non-profit group sponsoring the program. The grant covered about half of the program’s first year expenses.

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