National Key Deer Refuge in the Florida Keys
The National Key Deer Refuge was established in 1957 to protect and preserve Key deer and other wildlife resources in the Florida Keys. The refuge is located in the lower Florida Keys and currently consists of approximately 9,200 acres of land that includes pine rockland forests, tropical hardwood hammocks, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh wetlands, and mangrove forests.
Fawn image. Credit: USFWS
Blue Hole, National Key Deer Refuge
Dusk and dawn means time for wildlife watching at Blue Hole, the largest body of fresh water in the Florida Keys. It's on Big Pine Key in National Key Deer Refuge along Key Deer Boulevard.
Music: Forgive Me Great Spirit by Dan O'Connor
Another Gator!! Now Two Alligators in the Blue Hole (National Key Deer Refuge) Big Pine Key, Florida
Two American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) aka (Alligator lucius) live at the Blue Hole on Big Pine Key, Florida. They don't move around much but they are interesting to see. These alligators are adults or nearly adults and measure about 5 feet in length. There is a variety of food source for them at the Blue Hole. There are a variety of fish including Bass and sunfish, turtles, freshwater birds, invasive iguanas, and endangered Key Deer. The Blue Hole is an abandoned limestone rock quarry that was used to build roads, and is located within the Key Deer Wildlife Refuge on Big Pine Key, Florida. It is the largest and from some perspectives the only source of freshwater in all of the Florida keys. Although occasional small depressions in fossilized coral beds (limestone rock) holding rainwater do exist on every key, they generally do not exceed more than 6 feet in diameter and are therefore unable to sustain an alligator. The Blue Hole is therefore and anomaly in the keys. The Alligator is no longer listed as an endangered species and is the official state reptile of Florida.
Watson Trail, National Key Deer Refuge
Focusing on prime Key deer habitat in the heart of Big Pine Key, the Watson Trail loops through environments that have become extraordinarily rare in South Florida, most notably the pine rocklands with its fringe of rugged, rocky freshwater marshes.
Music: Joy in Land Formation by Dan O'Connor
Key deer refuge at Big Pine Key
National Key Deer Refuge | Wikipedia audio article
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National Key Deer Refuge
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The National Key Deer Refuge is a 8,542-acre (34.57 km2) National Wildlife Refuge located on Big Pine Key and No Name Key in the Florida Keys in Monroe County, Florida.
The refuge is home to the endangered Key Deer, a subspecies of the White-tailed deer that is endemic to the Florida Keys and has a current population of around 800 animals. 21 other threatened and endangered species of plants and animals are also found on the refuge, which includes 2,400 acres (9.7 km2) of upland forests, 5,100 acres (21 km2) of wetlands, and 1,050 acres (4.2 km2) of marsh. 2,278 acres (9.22 km2) of the refuge have been designated as a wilderness area.
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Great White Heron NWR, and Key West NWR are administered by the National Key Deer Refuge.
A trip to Blue Hole, Big Pine Key
Part of the National Key Deer Refuge, Blue Hole is the only freshwater lake in the Florida Keys. It is really an old rock quarry and is now home to birds, alligators, key deer, iguanas and other creatures.
Visitors from National Key Deer Refuge at our campsite at the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge, 33 miles from Key West, Florida.
Watson Trail, National Key Deer Refuge
The Watson Trail leads into a rare pine rockland habitat with the densest number of poisonous trees we've yet to see in Florida.
Key Deer at Big Pine Key FL
Key Deer at Big Pine Key FL. Video captured with this camera:
The Endangered Key Deer found only in the Keys
The Key deer is believed to be a subspecies of the white-tailed deer which migrated to the Florida Keys from the mainland over a land bridge during the Wisconsin glaciation.
The Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) is an endangered deer that lives only in the Florida Keys.
Recognized by its characteristic size, smaller than all other white-tailed deer. Adult males (known as bucks) usually weigh 25--34 kg (55--75 lb) and stand about 76 cm (30 in) tall at the shoulder.
Adult females (does) usually weigh between 20 and 29 kg (44 and 64 lb) and have an average height of 66 cm (26 in) at the shoulders.
Conservation efforts include the establishment of the National Key Deer Refuge, which consists of about 8,500 acres (34 km2) on Big Pine, No Name Key, and several smaller uninhabited islands.
About 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of this privately developable land is on Big Pine Key and No Name Key, which are the central population areas for the deer.
Key deer were hunted as a food supply by native tribes, passing sailors, and early settlers. Hunting them was banned in 1939, but widespread poaching and habitat destruction caused the subspecies to plummet to near-extinction by the 1950s.
The National Key Deer Refuge, a federally administered National Wildlife Refuge operated by the Wildlife Service, was established in 1957.
Recent population estimates put the population between 300 and 800, putting it on the list of endangered species.
More info here
Baby Fawn Key Deer on Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys
A foot tall baby fawn was eating along the road on Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys. There are a lot of Key deer on Big Pine Key. If you take the road that goes past The Wooden Bridge Fish Camp to No Name Key you can often see a lot of Key Deer. You can only go about 45 mph on Big Pine Key and both sides of the road a lined with tall fence to help keep the deer off the highway. Once I was eating on the private island of Little Palm Island and one of these little deer just walked up to my table. It wanted some food.
Miniature Deer in Florida Keys
Sixteen miles south of Pigeon Key is Big Pine Key and the National Key Deer Refuge Center. We stopped here to find out how to spot the famous Key Deer. A dwarf species. The Deers ancestors were stranded here thousands of years ago when the Keys were cut off from the mainland.
AJAM Florida Key Deer
COURTESTY AJAM- MIAMI BUREAU: Visitors travel to Florida to experience the Florida Keys; fishing, snorkeling and Key West. But there is an attraction which may not be as well known but one bringing together researchers and biologists from around the country. Julia Yarbough explains the future of the endangered Key Deer is at stake.
Big Pine Key Deer
This video was uploaded from an Android phone.
5.5 Ft Female Alligator at The Blue Hole, Big Pine Key
Got up close to an endangered Key Deer when I was on vacation.
Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge
Quick clip of a key deer in Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge at Big Pine Key
DO YOU KNOW ABOUT the Endangered Key Deer?
Important Facts about endangered key deer of the Florida Keys and the National Key Deer refuge.
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Florida national key deer refuge
*I am the photographer/videographer for all photos and videos featured, and I own the rights to all photography. Some information given in videos are my own observations as well, which is stated in the video*