BRIGHTON (WXYZ) – Both animal rights activists and hunters disagree on how Huron-Clinton Metroparks plans to control the deer population at Kensington Metropark.
Animal rights activists say there are non-lethal ways that should be used to control the deer population. Hunters disagree that gunmen with Metroparks Police must carry out the killing.
On Wednesday afternoon, Maria Leonardi and several other animal rights activists, including a concerned parent who lives nearby, stood in front of the administrative offices for Kensington Metropark to protest the deer’s killing.
Leonardi fears the killing will take place without public notice.
“Because of the community’s reaction, they will do this under the cover of darkness and in secret, and will not make it public knowledge when the killing takes place,” Leonardi said.
Action News spoke with some people who live near Kensington Metropark who are also opposed to the killing.
“Coyotes take care of the deer and people take care of the coyotes,” said one man.
Brian Lane, who describes himself as an avid hunter, opposes gunmen when Metroparks Police are used when you have hunters who would do it for free or pay to carry out the killing.
“Let veterans do it or disable veterans,” Lane said.
Leonardi wants to save the deer’s life and encourages non-lethal measures, such as the porcine zone pellucida (PZP) immunocontraceptive vaccine, which is supported by The Humane Society of the United States as a solution to “animal overabundance”.
PZP is administered by a dart fired from a dart rifle.
Questions about when the killing will take place and whether public awareness will begin began after Huron-Clinton Metroparks sent a letter indicating that two killings will take place in February with gunmen from Metroparks Police.
Part of the letter reads: “We have planned the following dates for our killing: Thursday, February 4, 2021, and Thursday, February 11, 2021.”
There was no cancellation on February 4 and then yesterday the Metroparks appeared to be back on the date for the second killing.
On Tuesday, Huron-Clinton Metroparks posted the following on their Facebook page: “We have been informed that information is circulating about killing deer occurring in Kensington Metropark on February 11th. There is no deer killing scheduled for Kensington Metropark on 11 February 2021. “
Leonardi and others believe community support for alternative methods prompted Metroparks to cancel Thursday.
Action News left several messages to Danielle Mauter, Wednesday Huron-Clinton Metroparks Chief of Marketing and Communications.
She responded after our broadcast and said there would be no killing on Thursday. She could not say whether a future date was being considered.
Mauter said they will make Kensington Metropark neighbors aware if this happens in the future.
Mauter said there are about 120 deer at Kensington, and that the DNR recommends a healthy deer population of 15 to 20 deer per square mile. She added that Kensington Metropark has just over 4,500 acres.
Mauter could not say whether hunters were ever considered killers. But she did say the deer’s bodies are processed and donated to local food kitchens.
Regarding the possibility of using non-lethal methods, Mauter said they have already been explored and there are “some reasons that they are not effective for the metro parks.” She said some of the reasons include costs and how the deer population flows across the entire region.
“We’ve already taken so many of them,” said Ellie Winship, who is protesting the killing. “Why do we deserve to take more of their lives?”
Leonardi began a petition to stop the killing of deer at Kensington Metropark.