By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — More than 50 deer on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus have been killed due to safety and public health problems, officials said.
The goal is to reduce the 76 deer in the area to about 20 to 25 during the cull. The cull began Feb. 23, during the week of spring break for the university.
The deadline for completing the cull was March 1, when the permit from the Department of Natural Resources expired.
The university received permission from Wayne County and the state of Michigan allowing for the deer cull to take place.
Although the university didn’t need the approval from the city, officials still brought the issue to council members.
“They didn’t have to ask us for permission” Councilman Michael Sareini said. “According to their attorney, they could’ve moved forward without our decision.”
In December, the university approached the council with the proposal but the members asked for more information before proceeding. During a special meeting Feb. 23 the council voted 5-1 to approve the deer cull, with one member absent.
“They provided us with more detailed information, data and surveys reguarding the deer issue in the area,” Sareini said. “There were 13 vehicle crashes last year relating to deer in the area.”
The university hired the professional company Berg’s Animal & Bug Control of Rose City to handle the deer killings. Berg’s is charging the university $300 for each deer killed.
“They promised to kill the older and more unhealthy deer first,” Sareini said.
Police were in the area patrolling and blocking vehicle and pedestrian traffic while the deer cull took place.
University officials said the deer cull was necessary because of the impact the deer have on the university ecosystem, and the possibility of lyme disease and ticks for students.
The meat collected from the deer cull will be distributed to Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Gleaners food bank in Detroit in the upcoming weeks, officials said.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)