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East Lansing wildlife rehabilitator is proposing a humane alternative to the city's deer cull

Cheryl Connell-Marsh
Posted at 8:43 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 21:27:29-05

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The city of East Lansing began a deer cull on Monday night. The plan is to sharp-shoot 100 deer in certain East Lansing Parks.

One of those parks is the East Lansing Aquatic Center which is about a quarter mile from where licensed wildlife rehabilitator Cheryl Connell-Marsh releases the fawns that she nurses back to health.

The city's deer cull will run until March 31, killing up to 100 East Lansing deer due to resident complaints.

Cheryl says she's attended City Council meetings, done a petition drive and sent emails to try and stop the cull. The only City Council member who has agreed to meet with her to talk is Dana Watson.

During a walk of the aquatic center on Monday, Connell-Marsh showed Watson where she releases her fawn and spoke to her about a possible humane solution to the deer overpopulation called a "green corridor."

"There's things that we can do to co-exist with deer, we don't always have to go from having a problem with deer to that means we need to kill them," Watson said.

Green corridors got their beginnings in Europe and are being implemented across the United States.

The strategy involved putting aside for wildlife to create a safe setting for them to exist in urban environments.

"You create corridors to encourage the deer to go to these areas," said Connell-Marsh. "You leave tracts of land that are open and green, that can bring them out of the city and encourage them to come into these big open areas."

Connell-Marsh says the aquatic center, with its gardens and forestry, is an ideal setting for one of these corridors.

Watson says she'll bring the ideas to City Council, but for now the cull remains in place.

However Connell-Marsh won't sit back and watch her fawns be killed for a second year in a row.

She plans to protest.

"We're at a point in our world where there's so little interaction with nature and with wildlife, that we're losing touch with the fact that that killing them isn't solving this problem," Connell-Marsh said.

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