STATEN ISLAND — The deer population on Staten Island is booming, and the city is forming a "deer management task force" to figure out what to do about it.
There are at least 793 deer that currently call Staten Island home — up from just 24 in 2008, a 3,204 percent increase — according to a Parks Department survey first reported by the Staten Island Advance.
The Parks Department, which spent almost $20,000 on an aerial survey to gather the most recent count of the deer population last winter, is now setting up meetings with the Department of Transportation and the DEC to discuss the findings, and will set up a "deer management task force" to figure out what to do, parks officials said.
The 2008 Staten Island deer survey was carried out by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.
The growing deer population has been a problem on the borough for years, critics say.
In 2012, Community Board 3 called on the city to curb the growing deer population. It proposed a "Deer Are Not Bambi" campaign to tell residents to stop feeding food to deer.
Last year, then-mayoral candidate Joe Lhota said he would let a controlled hunt of deer be allowed on Staten Island if he were elected.
In the wake of the latest numbers, Assemblyman Joe Borelli called on the city to install deer crossing signs at several spots in the borough — including Hylan Boulevard near Mount Loretto where there have been three accidents involving deer in just three months.
"We have lost one person to Ebola and there's pandemonium, meanwhile we have a problem that actually kills people and you can't put up two, three, four or five preventative signs?" Borelli said, adding that nearly 200 people a year die from car accidents involving deer nationwide.
Borelli said he's repeatedly called on the DOT to install deer crossing signs around the borough, to no avail.
A DOT spokesman said the DOT is "researching the effectiveness of signage in this regard." and would "discuss the study findings with the Parks Department and take a look at what might be appropriate measures."