Thursday, November 03, 2005

Yes, Deer

As further proof that humans really need to be better about wiping out species when we have them on the ropes, we get this terrifying story from the ABC NEWS:

A rash of attacks by male deer has prompted California wildlife officials to warn people to try and keep their distance from the wild animals.

The attacks, two against people and three against neighborhood pets, are most likely fluke incidents, officials say. However, the gorings could also be a sign that as residential areas expand, wild deer are becoming more accustomed to people and less fearful of them.

The article goes on to explain that:

Male deer act unusually aggressive this time of year since the animals are entering what is known as the rut. This is when bucks are completely focused on breeding and wander for weeks looking for females, often not eating.

"They're fighting for dominance among the females, they're not eating a lot. They become increasingly aggressive," said Todd Smith, editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life (At Least Until the Antlers Come My Way).

Of course, Smith could also be describing the behavior of males in Isla Vista, the densely populated town where male undergrads live near UCSB.

"We have more white-tailed deer now than we have ever had in the history of the country," said Smith. "So it's not surprising we're having more encounters. When deer and people meet, stuff's going to happen."

Except humans tend to feel a lot more comfortable when what happens after the meeting is venison.


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