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Parks Canada and Caldwell First Nation will be conducting a deer population reduction in the park as part of a multi-year plan to restore ecosystems at Point Pelee National Park.
Park officials say that hyperabundant deer are a serious threat to forest and savannah ecosystems at Point Pelee National Park. Through over-browsing, the deer in the park are threatening the health of the Carolinian Forest which is home to many Species at Risk such as Dwarf Hackberry and Red Mulberry trees. Heavy browsing by deer is also jeopardizing park efforts to restore the Lake Erie Sandspit Savannah, a globally rare ecosystem that supports 25% of the Species at Risk in the park.
They say that based on over 30 years of research and monitoring, a healthy balanced ecosystem at Point Pelee National Park would ideally support 24 to 32 deer. An aerial survey conducted on December 16th counted 84 deer in the park. The abundance of leafy canopy to eat, mild winters and, most importantly, a lack of natural predators such as wolves, bears and cougars have allowed the population of white-tailed deer in the park to grow to unsustainable numbers.
The deer population reduction is only one of a number of ongoing projects, such as planting native Carolinian species and removing invasive plant species, to minimize threats to these fragile ecosystems.
Visitors can contact Point Pelee National Park for more information at [email protected] or 519-322-236