Endangered deer killed near Kalama

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking information about the shooting of an endangered deer near Kalama.

A Columbian white-tailed deer was found dead of a gunshot wound on Oct. 3. The agency reports that this is the first shooting of an endangered species in the area.

The type of deer is distinguishable from other deer by their wide, usually brown tails and antlers that typically branch off of the main beam rather than fork.

The wildlife service believes the deer was part of the population at Cottonwood Island, on the Columbia River in Cowlitz County, that was moved from Puget Island earlier this year.

The deer were moved as part of an elaborate multi-agency operation to relocate the animals in anticipation of the failure of a dike separating the Julia Butler Hansen refuge and the Columbia River. If the dike fails, the refuge could flood and put the deer at risk. A new $6 million dike is under construction.

For more information about the Columbian white-tailed deer, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's blog.

The agency is offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest or conviction of the person or people responsible. Anyone with information is asked to call the agency at 360-292-3500.