Head of the Harbor Village officials are considering allowing researchers to use dart guns to treat deer in an experimental contraception program intended to shrink the population there.
Residents have complained the roughly 600 deer living in and around the densely wooded North Shore village feast on gardens and treat expensive landscaping like “an open salad bar,” as one person wrote in response to a village survey on residents’ experiences with the animals. Residents also worried about deer colliding with vehicles on the village’s winding, unlit roads, and the animals’ role as hosts for the ticks that carry Lyme disease.
New York State’s preferred method of deer population control is hunting, which many village residents reject as inhumane. So trustees decided last year to pursue nonlethal means of population control and contacted researchers from the Humane Society of the United States and Tufts University exploring use of porcine zona pellucid, or PZP, a substance derived from pig ovaries that uses an animal’s own immune system to prevent pregnancy in wildlife populations.
Head of the Harbor would become the second community on Long Island, after Fire Island, to host the work, which researchers estimate will cost $242,215 and take place over six…
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