One of the world’s most unique deer herds is facing an uncertain future. The white animals have flourished behind 24 miles of protective wire on a federal property that will be transferred to private enterprise next year. Local authorities see the property as a huge boost to their tax base, while developing the property will end the sanctuary status for the deer. Daniel Xu explains the details in this Outdoor Hub post and video which includes a message from those wishing to protect the deer.
A herd of about 200 white deer still roam the empty US Army depot in Seneca County, New York. The white-tailed deer are not albino, instead their white coloring comes from a set of recessive genes brought on by generations in isolation. For now the abandoned depot is their sanctuary, but town officials from nearby Varick and Romulus are eager to use the land for development. In 2016, the skeleton crew from the US Army Corps of Engineers now maintaining the depot will be leaving—and likely opening up the 7,000-acre parcel to businesses, residential development, and farms. “We have one of the biggest percentage of tax- exempt land of any township in New York State,” Romulus town supervisor David Kaiser told The Post Standard. “We already have a lot of wildlife … Montezuma, the national forest south of us, Sampson State Park, Seneca Lake Park. There’s no shortage of land set aside for wildlife in the county.” Development would likely mean the end of the Seneca white deer herd.
Photo: Seneca White Deer