NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An exploding deer population is creating dangerous driving conditions on Staten Island.
As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock explained, there was a time when coming across a buck on Staten Island was a novelty.
“Past four or five years we’ve seen one or two and it was amazing,” Joe Marchese said.
These days however.
“There’s just too many of them,” he said.
Deer are everywhere. CBS2’s cameras caught them wandering all over the borough on Friday, and even got a stare down from a doe.
Unfortunately, a close encounter could mean calamity.
“I was coming down the road and the deer just shoots out of the woods, the next thing I know, I hear this thump, I see the deer rolling out in the road,” Jeff Green said.
It took off running into the woods, fate unknown, the bumper of Jeff Green’s work van is now busted.
The New York City Parks Department estimates 2,000 of them call Staten Island home.
Some swim over from New Jersey, but natural reproduction is the root cause of the incredible population growth.
“Deer are really good at reproducing. Females can have twins and triplets every single year,” Katrina Toal said.
Toal — with the NYC Parks Wildlife Unit — told CBS2 the population has big impacts on urban forests, rates of Lyme disease transmission, and vehicle collisions. Stats from the DOT reveal a dangerous trend.
In 2015, there were 31 crashes, and more than double that in 2016, with 63.
Through August of 2017, there were 26 crashes, and we’re only in the early stages of mating season. The number will likely climb quickly meaning more work for auto body shops like Fix-A-Dent.
“Fifteen, sixteen thousand dollars worth of damage on the vehicle. Brand new Lexus hit in the front,” Jim Krupi said.
Putting the brakes on a growing herd is a top priority for parks.
“Last year was the first year the vasectomy program — it’s sterilization study — we’re trying to see the impact on population if we sterilize the majority of males,” Krupi said.
In the meantime, more warning signs are going up where collisions frequently occur in hopes that fewer find themselves pulling over after going one on one with a deer.
The study is slated to last three years.