Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Deer population control at Cornell

February 19th's issue of the Cornell Daily Sun had an article about the methods in which Cornell will attempt to curb its deer population. I have no problem with taking measures to control deer populations for ecological reasons, since humans have eliminated their natural predators and overpopulated deer can overgraze and alter the natural habitat. However, I do have a problem with the motives this article listed for Cornell's deer control program: deer-vehicle accidents and damage to crops, ornaments, the Arboretum and Botantical Gadens, and research plots. I believe that limiting deer-vehicle accidents is a more serious factor than the other motives listed in the article, but it is still mostly a superficial motive for curbing the deer population because deer are usually to small to harm a person in a collision, they usually just damage the car. The article also said that that Cornell fences was considering putting errecting 8 foot tall fences arround the core of the campus. These fences would be much more of an eyesore than the eyesore of whatever landscaping or "ornamental damage" the deer might cause. Furthermore, I would gladly sacrifice seeing some obscure plant in the Botanical Gardens, that the deer would eat, to spot a deer there instead. As I said before, I am not opposed to controlling Cornell's deer population, but I am opposed to the superficial motives for controlling the population listed in this article.

The article is titled Program Aims to Limit Number of Deer and is written by Alix Dorfman.

1 comment:

Sarah Schoenberg said...

The "superficial" reasons that Cornell has for limiting the deer population aren't so superficial. Deer cause real ecosystem damage and the obscure plants in Cornell plantations might be less obscure if there weren't so many deer.
Ultimately, the population control program seeks to limit Deer-Human interactions because they are costly. Imagine the panic and expense in having to remove a deer from Mann Library. Or the cost to the plantations in protecting or losing different plant species. Exclosure fencing offers a great alternative to sterilizing the deer and increasing hunts further south. While the fences might be unsightly to you, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think Bradfield and Uris are definite eyesores, but it would be silly to refuse to attend classes there. Like those buildings, the exclosure fencing is not pretty but it serves a utilitarian function and would be bad to oppose strictly on aesthetic grounds.