August 17, 2021

Via Email and U.S. Mail

Lourdes Mena
Florida Chief of Classification and Recovery
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1339 20th Street
Vero Beach, FL  32960

RE:  Five-Year Review for the Florida Key Deer

Dear Ms. Mena:

Last Stand joins the Key Deer Protection Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club in expressing support for continued classification of the Florida Key deer as an Endangered Species.

Our members who live in the Lower Keys tell us the Key deer herd size is significantly less than before the New World Screwworm epidemic (2016) and Hurricane Irma (2017).  Limited freshwater resources, damaged and reduced habitat, vehicle-deer collisions, and sea-level rise pose ongoing threats to the long-term health and survival of the Key deer.

Last Stand believes continued strong protections are necessary to ensure survival of the Florida Key deer.  Maintaining Endangered status is critical.  In addition to considering all recent Key deer research by respected scientists, we urge the Service to listen to the observations of Lower Keys residents who have first-hand knowledge regarding the overall health of the Key deer herd.

For the Last Stand Board,

D.A. Aldridge
President, Last Stand