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LA County Supervisors reject plan to shoot Catalina Island deer from helicopter

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected Catalina Island's plan to shoot and kill their entire deer population from a helicopter on Tuesday.

"I understand the Conservancy's concerns with the impact of the deer population, but I disagree that shooting hundreds of animals from helicopters is the right solution," Supervisor Janice Hahn said.

Hahn, who represents Catalina Island called the plan "extreme." She mentioned that many of her constituents on and off the island opposed it. On Tuesday, two petitions with nearly 90,000 signatures called on the Catalina Island Conservancy, which manages most of the land, to halt the eradication plan.

Catalina Island has a population of roughly 4,200 people. 

Mule deer on Catalina Island
 Catalina Island residents formed Coalition Against the Slaughter of Catalina Deer and are trying to stop the Catalina Island Conservancy from proceeding with a plan to have all 2,000 mule deer on the island shot and killed.  Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Image

"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," she said. 

The Conservancy argued that the mule deer population threatened the island's ecosystem. Many of the native plants on the island have been wrapped in a makeshift cage to stop the invasive species from eating them. The Conservancy believes that if the deer population continues to eat away the natural greenery, they could become susceptible to wildfires.

With the formal rebuke of the plan, the Board also sent a letter to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife opposing the eradication plan.

"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," Hahn said. 

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