Sustaining Deer Production in the Island of Rota

Project Overview

FW09-050
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2009: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Northern Mariana Islands
Principal Investigator:

Information Products

Commodities

  • Animals: deer

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing - continuous, grazing management, range improvement, grazing - rotational

    Summary:

    A very challenging but rewarding experience is the outcome of my work on this project. The whole purpose of this project was to do management grazing practices and productivity so that at the end it would create food sources, self-employment and eco-tourism attraction and would encourage interested farmers/ranchers with this concept in the future.

    The major task completed on this project is the half-inch pvc waterline connecting from the main water meter, which is about five hundred feet all around the three sections of the fence. I also built a twenty-four by thirty-two foot concrete typhoon shelter and also a six by ten foot tin water catchment to help supply drinking water in case of city water shut down. I completed all three sections of the fence with a combination of cyclone wire and net fencing and also completed planting of grass in all three sections for grazing alternation.

    The most significant results are the grazing alternation on all three different sections and water catchment for water supply as an alternative for the city water. An impact on the operation of this project is the weather, especially during the dry season. It really caused a delay on grass seedlings and requires us to provide a lot of irrigation in the field.

    Introduction

    Deer in the Northern Marianas have been mainly found on the island of Rota, and sporadically present on the islands of Saipan and Tinian. Most of them live in the wild and are protected under the CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife (DF&W). Others are domesticated for venison production. The island inhabitants are considered meat lovers and have been importing almost 95% of beef, pork and chicken meat.

    Deer meat could be a good replacement for all of the frozen meat importation. Deer meat "Katne Binadu," as locals call it, is considered high in demand, not only for local residents but for tourists as well. It serves as a local delicacy, with a significant cultural role as part of the islands' feasts and parties. It is also available as meat jerky, dried meat and appetizers prepared and cooked in different dishes for locals and tourists.

    Deer farming can also be maximized and utilized as an educational attraction for potential agri-tourism. This could eventually lead to a potential alternative livestock enterprise for residents; important given that the current economic condition is down and that there are few or no jobs for locals.

    Another pressing problem relating to deer is poaching. It is illegal to catch deer in the months of June to December, but still poaching is a common problem encountered by DF&W. The recent enacted law to domesticate deer in the CNMI is one big step towards decreasing illegal poaching. The 'domestication of deer' demonstration project is one way to discourage illegal poachers and promote the new domesticated law that was enacted last year.

    Project objectives:

    (1) The project will do a demonstration of sustainable livestock grazing strategies to local famers/ranchers to protect soil, the environment and the wild life by promoting “Katne Binadu” deer farming.

    (2) The project will investigate the creation of alternative enterprises, such as deer meet tapas and jerky; deer “Katne Binadu” production; the agri-tourism concept of education and marketing, promotion and preservation of cultural delicacy; and promotion of small-scale profitable business. This means creation of self-employment and empowering of small businesses.

    (3) The demonstration of deer production through effective rotational grazing strategy, protection through provision of alternative animal health regimen and provision of good pasture and proper grazing system. No artificial feeds and medicines will be used to promote organic deer production.

    (4) By demonstrating a sustainable strategy and coupling it with agri-tourism, more clients will be reached and educated about the proper way to manage animals and promote environmental protection while creating an enterprise for livelihood.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.