Catalina Island News

Oh Deer, what can or should we do?

City of Avalon

Avalon and Santa Catalina Island have many deer who are victims of our drought conditions, do not have sufficient food or water in the interior, and come into town seeking water and shade. Visitors stop and take photos of them because of their grace and beauty. We see them all over town and concerns have been expressed by locals and visitors about what we can do.

State Fish and Wildlife own the many deer in the City and on the Island, and they decide how they are treated and handled. It is reported that most of the Avalon deer that we see around town and at City Hall are sick and unhealthy. This is a tragedy. We are being told that the wild land deer look better and seem healthy.

It is known that water is an issue for all on Catalina so it is no news that the problem is worse for our own deer, fox, and bison population. They were brought to the Island and need our help. The Santa Catalina Island Conservancy staff is looking at how they can obtain water to fill our 11 wildlife water troughs around the island. Getting a 50 percent cut in water from Southern California Edison forced the Conservancy to shut down these water troughs.

It occurs to me that if the wildlife on the Island are the responsibility of the State of California that we need to communicate with our Governor, State elected leaders, and responsible State Department to ask them for help to address the problem even as we examine ways ourselves to provide some relief for the food shortage and illness our animal friends face. Maybe those of us who want to do more can start up a fund to save our animals? Are we "game" for this?

For those of you who are interested, the Director of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife is Charlton H. Bonham, 1416 9th Street, 12th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814.

David Jinkens
City of Avalon, City Manager