Animals

The Harlem Deer Is Sports (He’s Also Dead Now)

In case we're being unclear, the deer died

Animals
Dead deer, pictured still alive
Dec 16, 2016 at 4:10 PM ET

In Harlem’s Jackie Robinson Park, just south of famed Rucker Park and the old Polo Grounds site, a one-antler white-tailed deer arrived, taking up residence to the enjoyment of locals.

They called him “Lefty” for his sole remaining antler, although that was a very human-centric view imposed upon the deer, who retained the antler above his right eye, which only looked like a left to those he faced. His fellow ungulates, no doubt, called him “Righty.”

Sometime in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday morning, the deer escaped to a nearby public-housing complex where he was captured. Legions of fawning admirers for the noble buck had grown, but word came down from the office of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio that the deer would need to be euthanized because conservation policy apparently mandates that such animals can’t be relocated and only released back into their natural habitat—in this case, a 10-block park on the island of Manhattan.

Thus began 24 hours of cinematic plot turns: after the city called for his death, the governor intervened with a pardon, only for the city to reiterate that euthanasia was “the only humane and safe recourse,” only for de Blasio to reverse course and spare the deer’s life.

The story doesn’t end there, however, as the delay in deliberations proved too much for Lefty, who passed away in captivity. A deer died, but Deerambe shall live.

Deerambe had been scheduled for a relocation to an undisclosed upstate New York location. One complication with that: the state would have had to haul him several hours away, north of Albany and Saratoga Springs, into the state’s defined Northern Zone—or else he would have resided where it remains bow- and muzzleloading hunting season.

Instead, we are left to mourn Lefty, er, Righty.

Unless, of course . . .