April 23, 2024

Supervisors Unanimously Oppose Catalina Island Conservancy Plan to Gun Down Deer Population

Conservancy Proposes Shooting 1,770 Mule Deer from Helicopters

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn to express its opposition to a plan by the Catalina Island Conservancy to eradicate the entire mule deer population on Catalina Island by shooting the deer from helicopters.

“I understand the Conservancy’s concerns with the impact of the deer population, but I disagree that massacring hundreds of animals from helicopters is the right solution,” said Hahn, who represents Catalina Island. “This plan is extreme and I have heard from my constituents both on and off the island who oppose it. I am asking the Conservancy to put this plan on hold and reconsider several alternative proposals they had previously dismissed– including relocating the deer, extending the deer hunting season to thin the herd, and sterilization.”

The Conservancy has argued that the mule deer pose a threat to the island’s ecosystem by overgrazing and destroying native plants and habitats. It proposes eradicating the deer by shooting them from helicopters, a plan that has been met with outrage by many on and off the island. As of Tuesday morning, two petitions to halt the eradication plan have jointly received nearly 90,000 signatures.

With the unanimous support of the Supervisors, the Board will send a letter to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife opposing the Conservancy’s permit application based on the proposed methodology of eradicating mule deer through aerial shooting.

“Through this letter, the Board will advocate for the permit to be denied and if it is, the Conservancy will be forced to continue to work on an alternative solution that could be more widely accepted and supported,” said Supervisor Hahn during the board meeting.

Besides the small city of Avalon, the majority of Catalina Island—located about 22 miles off the coast—is unincorporated, and thus directly governed by the County of Los Angeles. The Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, manages 88% of the island’s 48,000 acres.

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