- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Dozens of female deer have been sterilized in Ann Arbor as part of the nonlethal phase of the city’s winter 2017 deer management plan.

Veterinarians performed surgeries on 54 does over the last week at a makeshift operating room at the Huron Hills Golf Course, the Ann Arbor News (http://bit.ly/2kLTOKN ) reported.

“The thinking is if the deer are spayed, their population numbers go down very slowly, 20 percent a year approximately, and the surrounding deer don’t invade,” veterinarian and lead surgeon Dr. Steve Timm said.

The city-funded deer management plan is expected to move into the lethal phase on Monday. Sharpshooters have planned to go to city parks and nature areas, as well as some University of Michigan properties.

The City Council voted in November to approve a more than $150,000 contract with Connecticut nonprofit White Buffalo Inc. to carry out the management plan. According to White Buffalo President Tony DeNicola, female deer are targeted for sterilization because deer are polygamous.

“Every male you miss has the potential to breed multiple females,” DeNicola said. “But more importantly, the males move much more broadly in the landscape. So, you would need to treat male deer over a very, very large area in order to prevent males from the perimeter from coming in and breeding with females.”

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources approved the city’s sterilization plan as an experimental research program. The sterilized does received ear tags they’ll wear back in the wild, and many will have radio collars to track their locations for more research in the next year.

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Information from: The Ann Arbor News, http://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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