Friday, August 27, 2010

Anthony Marr's new project idea - DAA/IC - For Non-Lethal Deer Management.

The DAA/IC concept: Anthony Marr's new project idea - DAA/IC

I conceived this new IC deleivery method over the last 3 years - since I took up the fight in the urban deer culling issue back in 2006 in OH/PA. I have invented a system called DAA/IC, standing for Deer-Auto-Assembler/Immuno-Contraception, which the hunters dread like the plague, but which they have so far prevented from being field deployed. There are 3 reasons for this:

1. Opposition from hunters, because the DAA/IC, once field implemented, will erase all their excuses to hunt deer in urban, suburban and semi-rural areas, as well as urban parks. Since immunocontraceptive vaccines have been approved by both the FDA and the EPA, the area of the hunters' attack has been the labor-intensiveness and expensiveness of the current vaccine delivery systems (see below).

2. Opposition from simplistic ideological groups like Friends of Animals against IC, spearheaded by people like Lee Hall, who maintains that unlike cats and dogs, deer are wild, and should not be interfered with, without regard for the fact that they have already been negatively interfered with by the hunters and farmers who have eradicated the natural predators, and who in fact deliberately cultivate a high deer population by means of food-plots for hunting purposes.

3. The lack of a working model. I have made presentations on this device to about a dozen city councils and even county executives. As they were listening, I could see that they were personally intrigued by the idea, but they are usually hunter-influenced, and their challenge to see a working model cannot be met, since, the idea being original, there is none.

At least not in America. Back in the late 1990s, I worked in 3 tigers reserves in India, and the idea originally stemmed from there. One of the problems to deal with was deer (Cheetal) coming out of the parks to raid the surrounding farm land. One of my challenges was to round them up and move them back into the park. Considering that they are extremely fleet-footed, the only thing that could work was the Deer Auto Assembler

The Deer Auto Assembler (DAA)

The DAA is an extremely simple device, comprising nothing more than fencing and one-way gates.

The DAA I set up in India was no bigger than a basketball court. I installed one inward-facing one-way gate on each side of the enclosure, put some food inside, and just let it sit. Within days, the DAA would be full of deer, which we then transported back into the park. How this could be used to combat the hunters and solve deer population problems is as follows:

Suppose there is an urban park 2-sq.mi. (1280 acres) in size. Suppose independent biologists estimate (average of at least 3) that the carrying capacity of the park is 20 deer per sq.mi. The maximum number of deer in the park without negative environmental impact then is 20 x 2 = 40.

Suppose an accurate deer count has been performed, and the deer population has been determined to be 70. The government would announce that 70 - 40 = 30 deer need to be "culled", and the bow-hunters would "volunteer" themselves to do it for free as a service to the community. The truth of course is that the whole thing is initiated by hunters from the start, for hunting purposes.

Of course, carrying capacities are usually estimated conservatively. If the population has been culled down to 40, it often would mean that it is below the carrying capacity, and the population would re-expand according to the Compensatory Rebound Effect, and the culling will return thereafter, year after year, as the hunters want it.

My solution is as follows:

1. Set up a DAA of about 10-50 acres, preferably in a scenic wooded area, using deer fence (8' min.) and inward one-way gates. Place food inside the gates and let it sit, while keeping count. After 30 deer have entered the DAA, close the gates.

2. Apply IC on the deer inside the DAA: A sub-mechanism of the DAA is a small internal compartment in one corner with an inward one-way gate, where the deer can be easily immunized and tagged., then released back into the main part of the DAA.

The inward one-way gate into the compartment leads into a narrow chute through which only one deer could pass at a time. The chute ends at a feeding trough, beside which is an outward one-way gate operated manually by an operator.

The chute should be draped in black fabric so that the deer will be calm, with the human operator concealed from view. At the food trough, where the feeding deer's rump would be, a U-shaped incision is cut in the fabric, creating a hole covered by a flap. When the deer is feeding, the flap is lifted, the pellet is injected, the tag is attached, and the deer is returned to the main body of the DAA through the exit gate.

Inside the dark chamber, the injection would be no more alarming to the deer than a black-fly bite. No man-handling is required. The deer is not stressed, and is very definitely marked as having been immunized. Other than constructing the DAA initially, very little human labor is needed to operate it.

Some new advances have been made for the delivery of solid pellets by darting, but the draw-backs of darting remain, and nothing yet is better than the DAA for effectiveness, efficiency and economy.

3. Feed the deer inside the DAA to keep them healthy and prevent environmental damage. An observation tower can be built inside the DAA for wildlife viewing purposes.

4. The following year, do another deer count. Suppose the number counted is, say, 60, then let 20 into the DAA, again leaving 40 outside, and immunize the 20. Deer life span averages 3-4 years in the wild. In the absence of predation, it would be longer, but by 7 years of age, their teeth would have been worn down to next to nothing. So over the years, the older deer will die off, the population inside the DAA will decline and stabilize at the level maintained by the yearly infusion of younger deer.

Problem solved, without any deer needing to be killed in any given year.

It's proven difficult to persuade any government to use their own city park or urban area as a testing ground for an "untried" idea, so, we'll have to set up a working model on a piece of private land where land is cheap and deer are considered overabundant. If such a piece of land and start-up money be available (mainly for fencing), the DAA can be set up immediately. IC is inexpensive if performed by volunteers, each 3-year dose of vaccine costing less than $50. The project should run for about 5 years minimum.

Once the concept is proven, I see no way any government could logically refuse to at least give it a try in their own parks and urban/suburb areas. And if luck is with us, we might even be able to find one government willing to try out the concept in a problem area, especially if we offer to fund and run the project as a pilot ourselves.


Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)


Listen to what Jay Kirkpatrick a wildlife contraception expert says that IC deer birth control.

"It works and it works well", "60% deer herd reduction"