You Can Visit An An Island In Quebec That's Overrun With Adorable Deer
It's not often that you can find a place where animals are thriving and actually outnumber humans. However, that's what makes a Quebec island so unique. The Anticosti Island deer make this remote island a magical gem in Canada's natural landscape.
Anticosti Island, Quebec is located where the Saint Lawrence River meets the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence and is separated from Quebec by two straits to the north and south of it.
The island is home to a large deer population that greatly outnumbers the number of people living on the island thanks to human intervention more than 120 years ago.
Only seven mammal species existed on the islands when Europeans arrived there, the black bear, the river otter, the red fox, the American marten, the deer mouse and two bat species.
Then in 1896 and 1897, a French businessman who had acquired the island introduced other animal species, including about 220 deer, to make it a hunting and fishing destination. Of the animals introduced to the island, the white-tailed deer has been the most successful and has the largest population on the island.
While there were only about 220 deer back when the species was first introduced in the late 1800s, that population grew exponentially. In 2016 Anticosti Island was home to an estimated 200,000 white-tailed deer.
The human population, however, was a lot smaller. According to Statistics Canada, only 218 people lived on Anticosti Island in 2016.
Not only are there way more deer than people, but the deer also take up a lot of land. Anticosti Island is only about 7,923 square kilometres and there are almost 21 deer per square kilometre on the island. That is the highest concentration of deer in North America.
And the deer seem pretty friendly too. They are featured in many adorable Instagram selfies from Anticosti Island.
Anticosti Island is also home to a national park with massive waterfalls, almost 125 kilometres of trails, caves and a canyon with huge rock faces.
But the deer and the stunning natural landscapes aren't the only things that make the island special.
In December 2017, the federal government added Anticosti Island to the Tentative List for World Heritage Sites. It was added to the list because of the fossils on the island from the first mass extinction event on Earth.
"We’re very proud and most of all grateful," said Mayor John Pineault in a statement when it was announced.
But a bid to make the island a UNESCO World Heritage site, backed up by its place on Canada's Tentative List, could be threatened by Quebec's provincial government if it is not protected against logging, according to the mayor.
The submission to UNESCO to make Anticosti Island a heritage site is expected in 2021.