Development brought new challenges to the protection of the Key Deer such as road mortality, illegal feeding and overpopulation.
Road mortalities were at all time high last year totaling 120. On one hand it is a sign of a growing population, on the other it is a tragedy that they must go in this fashion. In their modern landscape, new foraging opportunities began to shape the behavior and ultimately change the ecology of the deer. Larger family units with smaller ranges began to concentrate around neighborhoods. Exotic plants and fertilized yards provided an unnatural food sources. The Key Deer also learned that garbage cans can offer quick and easy meals. During necropsies conducted by the Refuge any number of strange trash items have been be found inside their digestive systems--wires, coins, toys, you name it. The deer pictured here are dining on french fries and molding pizza.