Southeast Mo. State professor, students join effort to control deer population

Students at SEMO are studying Cape Girardeau's deer population.
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 8:14 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Southeast Missouri State University Professor Fidel Atuo and his students are working at night to track and count the deer.

They’re hoping to help control the deer population in town.

“I think it’s something my students love and will give them the tools to be better wildlife biologists,” he said.

At city hall, Dustin Ziebold is in charge of deer management.

“There have been a lot of complaints submitted to us,” he said. “People have spoken about large numbers in their yard destroying their foliage, vehicle crashes, we don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

He believes the deer population can be a public safety issue if it’s out of control.

Kevin Brunke with the Missouri Department of Conservation said that chronic wasting disease is 100 percent fatal for deer.

“It goes in their body, gets in their lymphatic system and eventually it will deteriorate their brain until they can no longer function and they ultimately die,” he said.

“We really don’t want to get into a situation where we have dead animals laying around everywhere,” Ziebold added.

While it’s a serious topic, Atuo is genuinely happy for his students and said they do occasionally like seeing deer.

“I think it’s a great thing that we have deer we can see,” he said. “And I love to see them too, but what I think is that sometimes the environments cannot support the populations that we have.”

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