PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — A call came in to the public works department at Camp Humphreys recently that some kind of animal had been spotted inside the installation.

Environmental protection specialist William Rogers drove out for a look and soon saw that the animal in the grass about 200 yards from the airfield runway was one of the small Korean water deer that are occasionally sighted inside the post.

Because of the potential danger deer can be to aircraft at Desiderio Army Airfield, the Army’s busiest overseas airfield, officials have launched a project to capture and tag the nocturnal creatures and move them to a safer environment on another part of the base.

“We want to keep them from coming onto that area, as they present a danger and a hazard to the airfield operations,” Rogers said.

Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft operate round the clock on the airfield’s 8,000-foot runway.

To help with the initiative, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Far East District has hired a South Korean contractor to capture the deer, tag them, fit at least some with radio collars and then relocate them to a part of the post’s Zoeckler Station area.

Tranquilizer dart guns will be used to subdue the deer. They will be then tagged and relocated, probably by December, Rogers said.

“We’re going to monitor the deer that have the radio collars to see if they have access or if they’re finding ways onto the runway, or if they’re just happy to be where they’re relocated,” he said.

It’ll also help officials gauge whether there are openings in the perimeter through which deer may be entering the post, possibly driven in by the big surge in construction going on outside the base.

Work is under way to triple the size of Camp Humphreys in the future under a South Korea-U.S. agreement.

“If we do find one of the marked ones or a one with a radio collar on the runway area, we’ll know they are reinfiltrating it from the area that we relocated them to,” Rogers said.

Post officials believe there may be between four and eight of the small, yellow-brown deer on the installation. The males have fang-like tusks and no antlers.

“These deer tend to be a lot smaller,” said Rogers, adding that he’s seen German Shepherds larger than some of the water deer.

The deer eat grass and berries and can find water from numerous on-post sources, including streams, swamps, drainage ditches and man-made retention basins.

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