These deer would eventually come to be known as White-tailed Deer, for their signature white tail-flagging, displayed as a warning to other members of the herd when fleeing danger. They were a mainstay of the Native American diet and would enable the very survival of the new world’s European colonists.
The White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, was a welcome sight of sustenance for both the Massachusetts Bay and Virginia colonists. In fact, the deer could be found throughout the Atlantic seaboard and far inland, inhabiting diverse habitats from woodlands to palmetto groves. Like the North American Bison and Passenger Pigeon, it was the deer’s ubiquitous nature that led to its unregulated hunting. Reaching lengths of 7 feet and weights exceeding 200 pounds, the tan colored creature was a large and curious target.
My name is Lorraine Hillgen-Santa, I am a freshman at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. I grew up being involved with Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, from having my birthday parties there to having the Zoo set up educational programs at my school. Since the age of four, I was extremely interested in becoming a Veterinarian. Education Curator Jim Knox and Zoo Director Gregg Dancho have always seen my love for animals and veterinary care and helped foster it from a very young age. In 2013, Mr. Dancho toured me through the Zoo’s Vet Hospital which showed me realistically what it was like to work with animals.
Contemplating, the audiences respond cautiously. A timid “25”, a questioning “100”, even a bold “500” fall far short of the mark. Would you believe, on average, 20,000 new species are discovered each year? Please do, because it’s a figure that astounds me as well!
Our rules were simple; empty shells, feathers and other natural items could be collected. Living creatures could be caught, briefly observed and gently released. This informal biological survey yielded amazing discoveries. Not a search would go by when the kids wouldn’t find a new variety of feather or shell, a new species of fish or a new sight concealed around the next bend of the salt marsh.