Catalina Island Has Aggressive Helicopter Hunting Plan To Combat Invasive Mule Deer

Really good Los Angeles Times piece about a bold and aggressive plan – it’s also getting pushback from island residents despite being supported by the Catalina Conservancy – to combat an invasive mule deer species on the popular and ecologically important island located off the Southern California coast. Here’s more from Times climate reporter Sammy Roth:

“The island and the deer are both fighting for survival and neither one is winning,” said Whitney Latorre, 44, the conservancy’s chief executive officer. …

The deer hunting plan is just the latest in a long string of attempts to impose some form of ecological order on the fragile and beloved island just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California. At one point or another, a menagerie of imported goats, bison, swine and other animals have all threatened to overwhelm those species native to California’s Channel Islands. 

According to conservancy officials, mule deer are the most destructive invasive animal left on Catalina. Intense grazing by deer has placed increasing stress on native plants and paved the way for the spread of highly flammable invasive weeds, such as flax-leaf broom.