National Key Deer Refuge
Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys
Protected home to the native and endangered Key deer population, National Key Deer Refuge is a beautiful 8,542-acre park on Big Pine Key.
The Key deer is a subspecies of the white-tailed deer though it is only found in the Florida Keys and nowhere else on earth. Because of their rarity, conservation efforts have been extensive. National Key Deer Refuge is home to, currently, roughly 800 deer alongside approximately 21 other threatened and endangered species of plants and animals.
Visitors come to the National Key Deer Refuge to view the wildlife populations and explore the forests, marshlands, and hammocks on Big Pine Key. Besides Key deer, you might be able to spot the endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbit, the smallest subspecies of marsh rabbit, the Florida box turtle, 39 other species of reptiles or the more than 250 species of birds, both migratory and resident. The osprey, white ibis, and the incredibly quick peregrine falcon are common sightings but you might also run across a green tree frog or even an American alligator!
Your group may participate in supporting the park by stopping by the visitors center or by taking a group guided tour through the park. Have fun hiking and wildlife viewing, through photography, and even through saltwater fishing (freshwater fishing isn't allowed in the Keys).