National Key Deer
Anne Morkill, Project Leader
National Key Deer Refuge
179 Key Deer Boulevard
Big Pine Key Plaza
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Phone: 305/872 2239
Fax: 305/872 2154
* Established: 1957.
* Acres: 84,351 owned, 2,278 of
which are designated Wilderness.
* Located in: Monroe County, FL.
* Location: The refuge is located
100 miles southwest of Miami and
30 miles northeast of Key West,
FL along U.S.#1. Headquarters
is on Big Pine Key in the Big Pine
Key Plaza off Key Deer Boulevard.
* Other management: 700 acres
through the State CARL
program, 200 acres owned by the
Monroe County Land Authority.
* About a third of the uplands
portion of NKDR is on Big Pine
and No Name Keys.
* Satellite refuges administered as
part of the complex include:
Crocodile Lake NWR, Great
White Heron NWR and Key
* Refuge covers the truncated
historical range of the
endangered Key deer, including
habitat critical to its survival.
* Refuge is home to the imperiled
tropical hardwood hammock
habitat and 22 federally listed
endangered and threatened
species of plants and animals, five
of which are found nowhere else
in the world.
* Upland forests 2,400 acres; shrub
wetland 5,100 acres; wetland
marsh 1,050 acres.
* Key deer population may have
reached a low of 27 in 1957 and
have rebounded to approximately
Financial Impact of Refuge
* 13-person staff.
* More than 90,000 visitors annually.
* Current budget (FY 05)
* Protect and preserve Key deer
and other wildlife resources in
the Florida Keys.
* Conserve endangered and
threatened fish, wildlife and
* Provide habitat and protection
for migratory birds.
* Provide opportunities for
environmental education and
public viewing of refuge wildlife
* Deer management as an
endangered species, including
medical and rehabilitation,
habitat restoration and
enhancement, routine herd health
monitoring and population
checks, and research on
population density, behavior and
* Prescribed fire.
* Routine wildlife monitoring.
* Habitat restoration.
* Mechanical and chemical control
of invasive exotic plants.
* Law enforcement.
* Partnerships, both locally
* Volunteer assistance with
projects and programs.
* Friends group-Friends and
Volunteers of Refuges (FAVOR).
Public Use Opportunities
* Wildlife observation.
* Environmental education.
Calendar of Events W-1, i are the Key deer endangered?
April: Volunteer Recognition Low population numbers,
Ceremony, National Wildlife Week, development pressures, habitat loss,
Earth Day. and threats from hurricanes have all
been important in the listing of this
April-May: Key deer fawning season. species as endangered. Currently,
May: Migratory Bird Day. illegal roadside feeding contributes to
road kills which account for 70
August: refuge birthday. percent of the annual mortality.
October: National Wildlife
Refuge Week. Florida Keys Birding What is the range of the Key i,, .'
and Wildlife Festival. In 1922, Barber and Allen reported
the range of the deer to be Duck Key
Questions and Answers to Key West (60 linear miles). They
Where can I see the i .' are now isolated to a 6-mile area with
The Key deer are a wild species, and most of the population on
are not confined to Refuge lands. Big Pine Key.
They are visible throughout Big Pine
and No Name Keys, and are Where are the Blue Hole and the
scattered on surrounding islands. Nature Trails?
They are most active at dusk and Central on Big Pine Key is an old
dawn and remain in the confines of quarry, filled with freshwater, and
the cool pine rocklands during the home to a diverse array of wildlife-
heat of the day. Unfortunately, due to the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole has
illegal feeding, Key deer can be found visitor facilities including an
foraging on the sides of most roads interpretive kiosk, staffed by
and eagerly approach slow moving volunteers, and an observation
vehicles for hand-outs. Roadside platform. It is a popular look-out spot
feeding kills Key deer as it draws for visitors to Big Pine Key. Just
them to hazardous roadways, and north of the Blue Hole are two
concentrates populations facilitating interpretive nature trails: one
the spread of parasites and disease. penetrating the tropical hardwood
hammock, the other a wheelchair
How ..... deer are there? accessible journey through pine
The last scientific study of the Key rocklands to a freshwater
deer, part of a 3-year study, was wetland slough.
completed in 2000 at which time the
entire population of the Key deer is
estimated to between 700 and 800.
The population on Big Pine Key and
No Name Key is estimated to be 600
with another 100 to 200 on other
Lower Keys and Backcountry islands.
How big are the Key . .'
The Key deer are the smallest of the
28 subspecies of Virginia white-tailed
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