Pictures of the endangered key deer, which are a sub-species of the white-tailed deer in the United States. Key deer are found only in the Florida Keys. Adult shoulder height measures 2 to 2.5 feet, which makes them the smallest species of deer in North America.
Key deer became endangered because of uncontrolled hunting in the Florida Keys in the late 1800's and early 1900's. By the 1940s, their numbers were estimated at less than 50. Poachers would actually burn islands to drive the deer into the water, where they could be clubbed or shot.
In 1957, Florida and the US Fish And Wildlife Service created the National Key Deer Refuge, a 9,000 acre lot of sub-tropical forests. In 1973, the sub-species became protected by the Endangered Species Act. As of 2005, there are about 700 animals.