Monitoring of White-tailed Deer Population using Citizen Science in Urban Neighborhoods
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Odocoileus virginianus, or more commonly known as the white-tailed deer, has been the state game for Michigan since 1997. These animals are prevalent throughout the country, and specifically overabundant in Michigan. While an overabundance of any population can cause problems in an ecosystem, the excessive number of deer brings ecological and economic consequences unparalleled by any other species to the state of Michigan. Prolonged overpopulation can lead to over-browsing of commonly browsed vegetation, inducing an unnatural dominance of browse tolerant species. Humans can be directly affected by the overabundance in ways such as an increase in deer related traffic accidents, as well as an increase in the likelihood of contracting Lyme disease. In an effort to better understand the vastness of impacts that deer can have on the ecosystem, as well as human society, a rough population count is needed to better understand the mobile and residential tendencies of the individuals. In an attempt to combat challenges surrounding private land ownership, citizen science is being utilized to better measure the deer population in urban Kalamazoo neighborhoods.