The Potomac Highlands Watershed School
High School Environmental Forum
POV - The Deer's Advocate
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Petersburg High School
WHAT OVERPOPULATION? I am a doe who lives in West Virginia. I understand that you humans are conducting a “Deer Forum” in order to exchange ideas about how you can control the deer population, and that many of you think that we deer are overpopulated. Has it ever occurred to you that it is you humans who are overpopulated? We deer have been populating these forests for over a thousand years. We lived happily in harmony with our surrounding deciduous forest. Yes, wolves, mountain lions, and other animals preyed upon us, and they helped keep our population within the carrying capacity of the environment. The native humans at that time also preyed upon us as you modern humans do, but we had a large habitat through which we could migrate and hide. Over the past three hundred years, the human population increased dramatically in West Virginia. The humans encroached in our habitat areas. They cut down our forest environments. They plowed up any open spaces (meadows) to grow fields of single crops like corn and wheat. The humans fenced off our habitats, damned up our water supplies, and stole our food. Our population now is actually less than it was two hundred years ago, but you humans are so overpopulated that you have taken up our entire habitat. In the past one hundred years, you have done terrible things to our environment, the worst being laying down enormous amounts of asphalt and concrete for your own personal use. The vehicles that you drive on these asphalt and concrete roads are more terrifying and more effective than any natural animal predators in controlling our population. I must take my fawns across a 4-lane highway where vehicles are traveling at speed of up to 80 miles per hour to get to a place where there is enough green grass for them to have enough nutrition to grow healthy and strong. I must always be wary of the hunters’ guns that will kill me in cold blood when I am doing nothing more than trying to find food for my babies. I must steal corn from a farmer’s garden in order to survive, because there is so little forestland left. Humans from Washington, DC, have built (and are building more) huge retirement homes and summer houses on land that we deer once roamed. Then the humans are upset because we are in their back yards. We have no where else to go. We were here first. This is our land. From my perspective, it is the humans who are overpopulated, not the deer. The humans need to find solutions to control their population, so that the native species (forest plants and animals) may reclaim what is rightfully theirs.