EL wildlife rehabilitator calls for a human approach to deer

EAST LANSING, Michigan – The city of East Lansing began a deer cull on Monday evening. The plan is to kill 100 deer in some parks in East Lansing.

One of these parks is the East Lansing Aquatic Center, which is about 400 meters from where a licensed wildlife rehabilitator Cheryl Connell-Marsh frees the fawns that she breastfeeds to health.

The city’s deer culling will continue until March 31, killing up to 100 East Lansing deer amid complaints from residents.

Cheryl says she has attended city council meetings, campaigned for petitions and sent emails to try to stop the slaughter. The only member of city council who has agreed to meet with her to speak is Dana Watson.

During a walk at the Aquatic Center on Monday, Connell-Marsh showed Watson where she releases her fawn and told her about a possible human solution to the deer overpopulation known as the “green corridor.”

“There are things we can do to coexist with deer, we don’t always have to go from a problem with deer to that means we have to kill them,” Watson said.

Green corridors made their debut in Europe and are being implemented across the United States.

The strategy involved setting aside wildlife in order to create a safe environment for it to exist in urban environments.

“You are creating hallways to encourage deer to go to these areas,” Connell-Marsh said. “You leave open and green expanses of land, which can take them out of the city and entice them to come into these great open spaces.”

Connell-Marsh says the Aquatic Center, with its gardens and forest, is a perfect setting for one of these lanes.

Watson says she will bring the ideas to city council, but for now, the cull remains in place.

However, Connell-Marsh won’t sit idly by and watch his fawns get killed for the second year in a row.

She plans to protest.

“We are at a point in our world where there is so little interaction with nature and wildlife that we lose touch with the fact that killing them does not solve this problem,” Connell-Marsh said.

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