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Kim X. Tran Human Dimensions of Berkeley Deer May 7 2005p.1Human Dimensions of Urban Deer-related Vehicle Accidents in Berkeley, CAKim Xuan TranAbstract The neighborhoods of Berkeley, California are an excellent habitat for the Columbianblack-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus). Despite a large number of deer-related caraccidents in Berkeley, the associated economic and health costs have yet to be adequatelyaddressed by government agencies. Participation from neighborhood residents and wildlifeexperts is necessary to develop a public-approved contemporary wildlife management plan.Surveys were administered to 50 residents from high, medium, and no accident areas (N = 150)to measure public perceptions of causes of accidents, public opinion of animosity towards deer,and public opinion of different potential management plans. Results indicated 61% of surveyedresidents believed accidents occurred due to people driving fast. Of the residents who dislikeddeer, 82% of residents were involved in accidents. Of the residents who liked deer, 89% was notinvolved in accidents. Residents favored humanitarian forms of acceptable management plans,with 83% of residents approving Light Reflectors and 73% of residents approving publiceducation programs. Even though 21% of residents approved of hunting, 91% of hunting-approved residents have been in an accident. Results support the hypothesis that people whohave bad experiences with deer are more likely to dislike deer than those without badexperiences and that residents with more negative experiences with deer tend to support morelethal forms of management. Speed bumps and road signs may be the most effective andenvironmentally friendly management plan. However, cost/benefit studies should be researchedto see if the management program will be feasible and efficient.Kim X. Tran Human Dimensions of Berkeley Deer May 7 2005p.2IntroductionWithin the San Francisco Bay Area region, specifically Alameda County, the Columbianblack-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) have coexisted with residential neighborsin urban areas for decades (Jennings 2001). Caused by two main interrelated factors, urbandevelopment (Jennings 2001) and urban backyards providing excellent habitat for deer(McCullough et al. 1997), the black-tailed deer have encroached on urban areas using streets andsidewalks as travel corridors (McCullough et al. 1997).Through urban development, housing lots cross into deer habitat, promoting greater human-deer interactions (Bender et al. 2004). In turn, deer wander through urban neighborhoodsdiscovering food and shelter in backyards without danger of predation. This gives the impressionof an excellent habitat where all the means necessary for survival can be found in a backyard(McCullough et al. 1997).Deer intrusion in urban areas has produced an array of public health and safety issues tourban residents. One concern is gardens, ornamentals, and landscaping that receive heavydamage, especially roses and apples, which wildlife professionals deemed as easy meals to deer(Decker and Gavin 1987, Baker and Fritsch 1997, Curtis and Hauber 1997, Henderson et al.2000, Bender et al. 2004). A second concern is the transmission of zoonotic diseases,predominantly Lyme disease, to humans. With higher presence of deer in urban environments,chances of infection increases (Decker and Gavin 1987, Baker and Fritsch 1997, Curtis andHauber 1997). However, in the San Francisco bay area, transmission of Lyme disease issubstantially low (possibility of contracting the disease from a deer is between 1 - 2% forresidents) and is not a major concern (McCullough et al. 1997).A third concern is the attraction of natural predators to urban neighborhoods. Mountain lions(Puma concolor) and coyotes (Canis latrans) naturally hunt in areas with high deer density. Withbackyards acting as excellent habitats, predators will be attracted to hunt in urban residents andpossibly endangering children and domestic pets (Berger et al. 2001).A fourth concern, which is the basis for this project, is deer-related vehicle accidents. As deerdensities increase within vehicle driven areas, the chance of a car collision increasesproportionally (Stout et al. 1993, Baker and Fritsch 1997, Curtis and Hauber 1997, Jennings2001). As people drive more and deer presence increases, increasing number of accidents willgenerate complex social and economic consequences that have severe economic and health costsKim X. Tran Human Dimensions of Berkeley Deer May 7 2005p.3(Sullivan and Messmer 2003). In a 1995 study, an estimated 1.5 million accidents occurredannually in the United States (Conover et al. 1995) and more than 90% of the deer involved inthese vehicle collisions died from their injuries (Allen and McCullough 1976). In terms ofhuman casualties, over 29,000 injuries and 211 human fatalities occur nationwide each year(Conover et al. 1995). Accidents recorded were results of head on collisions with deer andmotorists or attempts to avoid a head-on collision (Stout et al. 1993). In addition, economic costsare estimated to have surpassed $1.1 billion in vehicle damages in 1993 with an average vehiclerepair cost of $1,577 (Conover et al. 1995). It is projected that repair costs will continue to rise asnew vehicles will become more costly to repair (Stout et al. 1993, Sullivan and Messmer 2003).Out of the approximate 1.5 million national accidents, Berkeley, California contributed fifty-seven deer carcasses in 2004 (City of Berkeley Animal Control 2004). This poses an alarm forBerkeley residences in terms of public health and economic costs. Studies on the national levelindicate that deer-related accidents may potentially cause fatal human injuries and large financialdamages in car repair (Stout et al. 1993, Curtis and Hauber 1997, Loker et al. 1999, Henderson etal. 2000). Despite a large number of accidents in the Berkeley hills, the associated economic andhealth costs have yet to be adequately resolved by government agencies such as Berkeley AnimalControl.Resolution by government agencies requires cooperation from wildlife management agenciesand residents (Decker et al. 1992, Stout et al. 1996, Baker and Fritsch 1997, Curtis and Hauber1997, Decker and Chase 1997, Stout et al. 1997, Loker et al. 1999, Henderson et al. 2000, Rileyet al. 2003, Fulton et al. 2004). Because suburban areas are heavily populated, traditional wildlifemanagement plans, such as hunting, contraception, and


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