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Feds Quietly Reconsider Protected Status For Endangered Key Deer

The world's only population of Key deer lives on the Lower Florida Keys. In recent years, the herd has dealt with a deadly screwworm outbreak and a Category 4 hurricane.
Emily Michot
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The last couple of years have not been kind to the endangered Key deer.

A grisly, flesh-eating screwworm infected the planet’s only herd in the Lower Keys in 2016,  killing nearly an eighth of the beloved, dog-sized deer. Then came Hurricane Irma in September, which landed a direct blow  to their habitat. And don’t forget  the poachers, an inept duo who hog-tied and stuffed three deer in their car before police stopped them.

Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under  increasing pressure to thin the ranks of the endangered species list, is quietly conducting a review of the deer’s protected status.

Read more from our news partners at the Miami Herald

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Jenny Staletovich has been a journalist working in Florida for nearly 20 years.