Staten Island’s three-year, 4.1 million dollar deer vasectomy program has come to an end. The results, however, are less than impressive with only 316 deer eliminated. This barely puts a dent in the herd’s population of 1,737 deer.
The contract was awarded to a company called White Buffalo Inc. Their goal was to snip 98% of the bucks in the herd. As they got further into the task, they found there were far more deer on the island than originally thought. The contract, which started at 3.3 million, ballooned to 4.1 million dollars. 7.6% of those funds went to supplies for the program. The rest – $3.7 million – went to salaries for senior scientists, wildlife biologists, technicians, and veterinarians. The cost break down shows one senior scientist made $375K for 150 days of work. Another made $58,650 for only 30 days of work.
The contract ended in January and the parks department is considering a 5-year extension. “We are on track to meet our goal of sterilizing 98% of bucks. In order to preserve the high percentage of sterilized males, Parks is soliciting Expressions of Interest from vendors for a five-year contract to continue the population control study,” said Parks spokeswoman Meghan Lalor. The new contract would likely cost another 2.5 million.
Staten Island’s Borough President, James Oddo, does not think the current progress is enough to make a difference. “The beneficial impact of their method is still years away,” Oddo told The Post. “Meanwhile, crashes, increased incidence of [Lyme] disease, and the extinction of plant species and various ecosystems roll on.”
Oddo is pushing for a controlled hunt of the deer. The mayor also says he wouldn’t rule out a cull as an option. “I don’t rule out anything when it comes to new approaches,” de Blasio said. “If we don’t see the progress we need, initial progress is promising, but I will remind you, it was not just a question of the city. There was also a lot of resistance at the state level. I think it is a complex issue, there are real complex environmental issues and other issues here. Bottom line — the current [vasectomy] approach will work, but we’ll never take off the table other options if it doesn’t work.”
That sure seems like a lot of money to cure a problem that hunters would pay to handle themselves. What do you think of the program?