WASHINGTON — A monthslong effort to thin the population of white-tailed deer in national parks in Maryland and D.C. has netted more than 14,000 pounds of venison which has been donated to D.C.-area food banks.
All told, the seven tons of deer meat amounts to more than 50,000 meals, the National Park Service announced Monday.
The park service said the deer meat is professionally processed and tested for chronic wasting disease before being donated.
The parks where the deer culling took place are Rock Creek Park in D.C. and Antietam National Battle Field, Catoctin Mountain Park and Monocacy National Battlefield in Maryland.
The park service said the efforts — which are opposed by animal rights groups — are needed because overabundant deer populations “do immense damage to vegetation and eat nearly all tree seedlings so forests cannot sustain themselves.”
The venison was donated to the Maryland Food Bank, the Thurmont Food Bank and DC Central Kitchen.
Last year, the park service said deer-culling efforts specifically at the Maryland parks yielded eight tons of deer meat.