Florida Key Deer - Endangered Species

Why Florida Key Deer are Endangered






Florida Everglades



How Key Deer Became An Endangered Species

Traffic fatalities account for about 70 percent of the Key deer fatalities each year. It's a situation that isn't likely to improve.

U.S. 1, the main thoroughfare through the Keys, is one of the roads that bisects the refuge, and about half the fatalities happen along this roadway despite a posted speed limit that is lower than on any other island.

These collisions are just as apt to take place during the day as at night. Obviously, this is one instance where sharing the land isn't working at all well.

The problem is that only 40 percent of Big Pine Key is protected habitat. On a map, the island is revealed as a checkerboard of houses and businesses, and development is planned. Some of the local developers would like to turn Big Pine Key into another Key West.

That's a strange mind-set to understand since a Key West style of life is not why people moved to this region to begin with. Furthermore, Key West is just another 30 miles farther south, geographically, though it feels more like decades away, psychologically.

Developers, interested only in dollar signs, and bureaucrats, who need a larger tax base to provide them more power, are always an unholy alliance where protecting nature is concerned. On Big Pine Key, the two factions clearly deserve to count their money together, in hell.

If the status of the Key deer is still precarious today, at least it is far more secure than during the 1940s when only an estimated 50 animals remained.

Hunting and some habitat destruction had eliminated the rest. The establishment of the National Key Deer Refuge in 1957, coupled with strong law enforcement, saved the herd from extinction.

Where to See Key Deer

Best Month To Photograph Key Deer

Key Deer Habits and Habitat

Key Deer Evolution, Adaptation

Close Neighbors: People and Key Deer

Florida Key Deer Homepage