The federal government has dispatched a team of sharpshooters to assassinate a rogue menace threatening DC: Bambi. The National Park Service began a cull of white-tailed deer in Washington's Rock Creek Park Wednesday night, following delays due to a failed lawsuit by local activists seeking to avert the slaughter, reports the AP. Over about three days, the shooters plan to take the park's deer population from about 70 deer per square mile down to 20. Then it will be venison stew night at DC soup kitchens, as the NPS says it plans to donate the meat to local food banks.
The deer started showing up in the park around the 1960s, and their ranks have now swelled to almost 400, reports the New York Times. Officials say the population has become unsustainable, grazing away too much of the park's vegetation, weakening its forests, invading neighbors' yards, getting hit by cars, or worse: In 2009, a deer entered the nearby National Zoo and was attacked by lions as visitors watched in horror. But the government's "deer management plan" doesn't mean the animals are fair game for the rest of us. A local man was recently charged after allegedly hunting and killing a Rock Creek Park deer with a bow and arrow, reports the Washington City Paper.