US Army raises world's largest herd of white deer

Dylan Thuras is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Dylan is a travel blogger and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Joshua Foer.


Recovering from our experience being Boinged (Sysadmin, save me!) I thought I would share a wondrous site found in a less than exotic location…

The story begins in 1941 at an army depot in Seneca County, NY when some soldiers noticed a couple white deer roaming inside their 24-square-mile fenced-off base. Realizing that something strange (and wonderful) was afoot, the General ordered the soldiers to protect the white deer. While the soldiers continued to hunt brown deer inside the confines of the reserve, the white ones were allowed to breed. With predators were kept at bay by a giant fence, and pressure put on the brown deer by hunting, the white deer population was able to explode. (These blanched deer are not albinos, as you might assume, but rather possess two copies of another rare recessive gene for whiteness.) There are now 200 of them roaming the grounds, the largest herd of white deer anywhere in the world.

Today the base is no longer active, but the deer are looked after by a not-for-profit organization–Seneca White Deer Inc–devoted to managing the herd. They are currently fighting plans by developers to reduce the area to a fourth of its current size.

Seneca White Deer Website