Video: Endangered Key Deer emerge after Hurricane Irma

The endangered Key Deer only live in the Florida Keys. Recent estimates put the population between 700-1000.

When the brutal winds and storm surge from Irma became inevitables, officials at the Florida Keys National Wildlife and Refuge Complex had to just hope for the best.

“When you know there are 130 mile-per-hour winds and 10 feet of storm surge shoving into the Keys, that’s big,” said Dan Clark, project leader for the refuge.

“We are letting them be wild animals in the wild,” he said. “We believe the best ecological decision we can make is to keep them wild in the Habitat they know.”

As soon as Clark and his biologists are cleared to return, the assessments of wildlife and buildings will begin. Altogether there are nearly 25 threatened and endangered wildlife and plants Clark’s office monitors.

Monday afternoon some actual video emerged from the Keys. David Sutta, a television journalist out of CBS Miami, tweeted some of the first videos of the deer post-Irma.

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The deer have survived Hurricanes before. Wilma in 2005 brought a 6-foot surge of water and Georges in 1998 led to extensive flooding.

Sutta’s video, although preliminary, is a positive sign that the key deer have made it through Irma as well.

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has a decade and a half of experience working in a fast-paced newsroom. He’s worked as a journalist, weather chief, and news director.

He was on air during major weather and news events, including Hurricane Katrina, and the EF-4 tornados that struck the city of Hattiesburg in 2013.

Ortego is a two-time 1st place recipient in Investigative Journalism from The Mississippi Associated Press and a five-time recipient of Best Weather Broadcast.