Big Pine Key's famous endangered key deer survived the storm.
Anyone who has visited the fabulous Florida Keys has probably visited the National Key Deer Refuge. Miles of tropical forest in Big Pine Key--a lesser-inhabited island in the lower keys just south of Marathon--is home to the infamous endangered Key deer, smaller in stature than the white-tailed deer.
These deer made headlines last year as they battled a fatal screwworm outbreak which led to widespread concern among pet owners as well. The population has dipped below 1,000, but efforts have been in place for years to protect the species. Traffic collisions also threaten their numbers.
With help from conservationists, the deer beat the parasite epidemic, and now we know some of them survived Hurricane Irma!
— ｄａｖｉｄ ｓｕｔｔａ (@SuttaCBSMiami) September 11, 2017
CBS Miami reporter David Sutta made a lot of Keys evacuees smile with this update amidst the devastating photos overwhelming social media. In fact, it offered a little bit of hope as locals anxiously await approved re-entry and reports on the safety of "stay behinds."
We're still waiting on news about the wild resident alligator at the Blue Hole in part of the refuge. He's survived storms before, so we have hope he is enjoying a swim but will be back!
With all the sad news out there, we thought you could use a pick-me-up. Keep checking our site for more pawsitive updates on animals affected by Hurricane Irma!
Have you ever seen the key deer of Big Pine? Share your memory in the comments below!
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