NEW YORK (AP) — A one-antlered deer that was captured at a New York City public housing complex died Friday before it could be relocated, officials said.
The white-tailed buck died after prompting a tug of war between New York City and state officials over its fate.
“We offered yesterday to take possession of the deer and transport it to a suitable habitat,” the state Department of Environmental Conservation said in a statement. “The city did not accept our offer until just before noon today, and while we were arriving on scene the deer died in the city’s possession.”
The buck drew crowds for about two weeks at Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem, where it was known to residents either as J.R. or as Lefty for its missing left antler.
But after it jumped a fence into the courtyard of a housing project Thursday, the deer was tranquilized, captured and taken to an animal shelter.
City officials announced plans to euthanize the deer, saying that transporting it upstate would contravene state wildlife policy and that the deer would not survive the stress of being moved anyway.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday night that the state would move the animal despite the policy. City officials initially declined the offer but state DEC staffers headed to the city to collect the deer on Friday. City officials said they would not stop the deer from leaving but meanwhile the deer died around noon.
“This was an animal that was under a great deal of stress for the past 24 hours and had been tranquilized for much of that time,” Sam Biederman, a spokesman for the city parks department, said afterward. “Unfortunately, it has died.”
It’s not clear how the deer got onto Manhattan island in the first place.
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