I was planning to write about the fight to protect them, likening the effort to what you see in SW Florida with the manatees. Driving through Big Pine can take what seems like hours, with the lowered speed limit and resulting congestion. I've spent some time in Marco Island and the Everglades City area, and heard many fishermen and boaters complain loudly about the many restrictions and difficulties they face due to the manatee's endangered status. Like those fishermen, I was probably more annoyed by the presence/consequences of the deer than I was motivated to protect them. Today I rode my bike all around Big Pine and No Name, and have changed my tune.
Riding from US1 through Big Pine and across the bridge onto No Name, I encountered at least a dozen Key Deer - and this was during the afternoon, I'm sure I would have seen several more had it been earlier or later in the day. All were on or near the road, and were only moderately spooked by my presence. Staring into the eyes of the deer, you can't help but appreciate them. So, feeling better about the efforts to protect them and by extension better about myself, I headed back toward home. Then I saw what fully completed my evolution of understanding the Key Deer's fight for life.