There will be no new fences or fancy radio-collars this year for the white-tailed deer in Front Royal, Va. A $650,000 proposal to control the deer herd in the National Zoo's research preserve there died in Congress yesterday.
The measure, proposed by Rep. Sidney Yates (D--Ill.), reflected zoo officials' concern that the preserve's rapidly expanding deer population could crowd out more exotic species bred there.
The proposal included $400,000 for 12-foot fences to create deer compounds and $200,000 to study methods of deer control, among them possible relocation and radio tracking. It had been rejected by a House Appropriations subcommittee on Nov. 19 and yesterday was formally killed when the full House approved an appropriations bill without the money for the deer in it.
For Smithsonian officials, that means yet another search for a solution to the deer problem at the zoo's Conservation and Research Center. The zoo is a part of the Smithsonian Institution.
"We obviously will have to examine other alternatives," said Larry Taylor, a Smithsonian spokesman. "Clearly we have to do something in the next year or two."
For the deer, saved earlier from a zoo-sponsored hunt that was canceled amid loud protests, it could mean at least another year of unfettered feeding and breeding in the 3,300-acre preserve in the Blue Ridge mountains.