LONGVIEW — The effort to establish a herd of Columbian white-tailed deer at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is off to a shaky start, so wildlife agents have been killing coyotes to help fawns survive.
The Daily News reports that 13 coyotes have been killed so far this summer.
Refuge manager Chris Lapp says if the young deer can survive until fall they’ll grow fast and savvy enough to avoid the coyotes.
About three-dozen of the endangered deer were moved in the spring from the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge near Cathlamet, where their habitat is threatened by a dike failure. Another dozen were moved to Cottonwood Island in the Columbia River.
But about a dozen of the Ridgefield deer had died by the end of July. Seven more moved off the refuge.