The Columbian white-tailed deer have struggled to survive. In fact, their population fell so much they were once thought to be extinct. The deer still have a long ways to go, but biologists say the species is now quickly making a come back.
Years ago, development claimed much of the Columbian white-tailed deer’s historical habitat. Most recently, a damaged dike threatened to burst. That would have flooded one of their remaining refuges. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service relocated 37 deer to another refuge 60 miles away and brimming with prime habitat. Now, those efforts are paying off. The service is recommending the Columbian white-tailed deer be downgraded from an endangered species to a threatened one. That’s one step closer to removing the deer from the endangered species list. Rebecca Toland is a wildlife biologist with the service.
Toland: “Finally after 40 years, with this particular population segment in the Columbia River, we really are on the right track. Things are going to move quickly from here.”
The service will decide whether to accept this recommendation next year. 10 years ago, it removed another Columbian white-tailed deer population in Oregon from the endangered species list.
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