Florida Keys

Two South Florida men charged in ‘taking’ of Key deer

Key deer in the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key.
Key deer in the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key. Miami Herald File

Two South Florida men were jailed Sunday on Little Torch Key, apparently charged with “taking” a deer and several other counts.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Keys spokesman Bobby Dube said in an email that specifics would be available Monday and that they would be coming from the FWC’s Tallahassee headquarters. But based on the charges and the location of the arrests, it appears the two are accused of taking an endangered Key deer, which are federally protected because their population is so small (fewer than 2,000) and they are found nowhere else on the planet.

The National Key Deer Refuge is based on Big Pine Key but the diminutive deer, which grow to only the size of a large dog, are known to move around other Lower Keys islands such as Little Torch.

Charged with three felony counts each of killing or wounding a protected species, egg or nest are Erik Acosta Damas, 18, of Miami Gardens; and Tumani Anthony Younge, 23, of Tamarac. They also face numerous other counts, including misdemeanor charges of taking deer or turkey with a gun and light, and charges of “torment, deprive, mutilate, kill.”

Damas and Younge are in the Monroe County Detention Center with no bond allowed. They were arrested just before 7 a.m. on Little Torch Key’s Barry Avenue.

Larry Kahn: 305-440-3218