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In suburban forest of Valley Forge, balancing coyotes vs. deer

November 07, 2010 | Deer

The Washington Post
By Jeff Gammage

PHILADELPHIA - For months they've run on the periphery of the debate over the plan to shoot deer at Valley Forge National Historical Park:

Coyotes.

A small number have taken residence inside the park, among the "urban coyotes" that dwell in places from New York to Chicago to Beverly Hills, Calif.

Now, animal rights advocates are arguing that the number of coyotes in Valley Forge should be encouraged to grow, as a way to provide a predatory check on the deer and eliminate any cause for gunfire.

"It would serve as a natural form of population control," said Matthew McLaughlin, director of the Pennsylvania chapter of Friends of Animals.

Park officials say it wouldn't work - certainly not fast enough to help a forest that's being devoured by deer. This month, park managers intend to proceed with a plan to eliminate 86 percent of the deer over the next four years.

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