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SIU student suing school over deer attack

By AP / IL Public Radio / KWMU

Carbondale, Ill. – A woman who was injured last year in a deer attack at Southern Illinois University is suing the school.

Zhimin "Nancy" Wang, a doctoral student, was among at least seven people injured or threatened last June by deer during fawning season on the Carbondale campus. This week, deer injured three more people there.

Wang is seeking more than $50,000. She apparently sustained a broken clavicle in her encounter with a doe contends that bone now is permanently askew.

SIU officials have been urging pedestrians on campus to be mindful of deer, to not approach them and to run if they're rushed by a deer.

During fawning season, mother deer tend to be overly protective about their offspring, and scientist Clay Nielsen says the attacks are classic examples of that protectiveness. "People on campus are walking by them, sometimes not even knowing they're walking by them, and the fawns' mothers are nearby and they agressively will occasionally attack people," Nielsen says. "And this is a natural defense mechanism by does."

"They're just trying to protect their offspring."

Nielsen is beginning a research project to track SIU's deer population.

The attacks are also the result of the campus layout, which includes a lot of green space, woods in the middle of campus, and a lake. "Our students study in one of the most naturally beautiful university campuses in the United States," said Provost John Dunn.

"Sometimes when humans and animals are in close proximity incidents such as these occur. We are working hard on addressing the issue to ensure that our students and employees are safe."

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