Florida Key Deer Among The First Casualties of the Gutted Endangered Species Act

September 25, 2019 at 2:32 pm

Florida Key deer are no longer considered “endangered” even though their population is under 1000 and 75 percent of their habitat is about to disappear

North America’s smallest deer could disappear soon thanks to the recent gifting of the Endangered Species Act.

The Trump administration has announced it plans to remove the Florida Key deer from the list of endangered species, because the amended law no longer recognizes “climate change” as a legitimate threat to wildlife.

The only problem is climate change is a totally legitimate threat in the case of the Florida Key deer, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The mini-Bambi’s are found only in the Florida Keys, where 75% of their habitat is expected to be under water in the next 40 years due to sea-level rise, the Miami New Times reports.

“We know that Florida Key deer can swim, but can they swim and survive on 25 percent of their original habitat?” asks Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

And it’s not only climate change affecting the deer. Their habit is also being lost directly to human development (i.e. expanded urbanization and agriculture).

The adorable little deer, about the size of a medium-sized dog, once flourished is the lower Florida Keys. But their population shrunk to just a few dozen in the 1950s, as the human population multiplied.

Federal efforts to protect them from extinction, allowed their population to grow to just under 1000 today, but their removal from the endangered species list will likely reverse all that progress.

Under the new Endangered Species Act, demoting a species from “endangered” to  “threatened” will remove all federal protections, making it legal to “harm, harass, shoot, and kill” the species.

”Threatened” species are also exempt from critical habitat requirements if the habitat destruction is a consequence of climate change.

That means habitat to which deer are expected to migrate as the oceans rise cannot be protected.

“Climate change will force species to move,”  Rebecca Riley, legal director for the nature program at the Natural Resources Defense Council told the Times.

“Ironically, the thing we need to do now is to protect the unoccupied habitat where species will migrate to. These rules make that much more difficult.”