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Sep 21, 2017

Bellingham WA and USA: Cities dominating #deer habitat, journalists taking liberties with news

#Deer I saw in #Bellingham #WA 5/6/2017
See several photos of Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) by clicking HERE to go to Wikimedia Commons.

Recently I noticed discussion in the news about the City of Bellingham considering a regulation to prohibit citizens intentionally feeding deer. I don't know that they might not be reinventing the wheel. What they are talking about at the City Council seems to be the same as "negligent feeding" and is already illegal based on (Revised Code of Washington) RCW 77-15-790 the first line of which goes like this:
RCW 77.15.790
Negligently feeding, attempting to feed, or attracting large wild carnivores to land or a building—Infraction.
(1) A person may not negligently feed or attempt to feed large wild carnivores or negligently attract large wild carnivores to land or a building.
Journalists are taking liberties with the story, according to numerous hits I see in a search engine. Maybe they don't think the news is scandalous enough so they embellished. I am still searching for which news bureau is originally responsible for this embellishment, but they are passing around the notion that the deer are launching an "invasion" in Bellingham. Deer don't invade like Europeans invaded North America. They just live.

One journal, the Spokesman Review, included in their version a photograph of mule deer in Idaho. There are no mule deer in Bellingham (see WDFW). Black-tailed deer are common and they are a subspecies of mule deer, but the point is a good news bureau should include a photo of black-tailed deer who are inhabitants of Bellingham WA, not Idaho.

At least KOMONews.com used a photo of deer who live in the geographic area under discussion. Their making fun by using the term "Oh deer" in their headline is inappropriate however.

It is important for wildlife that journalists refrain from exaggeration that may inspire new acts of cruelty against deer by evil people.

I am not a professional journalist, paid by a government or business, a paid legislative policy analyst, an expert in species identification, or lawyer versed in municipal vs. state vs. federal regulations, just a citizen pining for objectivity because nature matters.

I don't believe people should intentionally or sloppily feed deer or other wildlife. A ban would be fine if it is not redundant, if it were enforced, and penalties paid. I also believe it would be wise to prevent cattle raisers from using public land. Litter laws should also be enforced.

People should take care of their garbage so skunks, raccoons, bears, birds, bees, deer and all are not attracted to it. They should stop feeding bread to seagulls, ducks and geese. Governments should plan roads appropriately and humans should drive cautiously so as not to run into wildlife. Wildlife corridors should be planned, implemented and respected. Homeowners and property managers should plant native gardens, not tulips for example. Many common sense practices facilitate living peacefully within nature.