It’s getting lonely in Cades Cove

Cade’s Cove deer
Cades Cove, January 2006
It’s apparently getting lonely for the deer, anyway.

According to this article from a Florence, Ala. newspaper, the population of deer is dwindling in Cades Cove, a popular tourist destination in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“Bob Miller, spokesman for the national park that straddles the Tennessee-North Carolina border, said several factors have contributed to the number of deer in Cades Cove.

“As the number of black bear and coyotes in the park have increased, the white-tailed deer population has declined, he said.”

The only time I’ve been to Cades Cove when it wasn’t packed with tourists was early on a chilly, January Sunday morning. Usually they’re driving bumper-to-bumper while gawking at the wildlife from their cars.

I’ve sometimes joked that the deer are really just animatronic displays put there for the tourists. If the trend keeps up, maybe the park service will have to resort to that for real.

(link via National Parks Traveler)

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