WASHINGTON (AP) - Animal rights advocates are asking a federal judge in Washington to block the National Park Service from killing white-tailed deer in Rock Creek Park.

The complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia contends the plan violates a law requiring the park service to preserve wildlife in its natural condition as nearly as possible.

The plaintiffs include several nearby residents and a group called In Defense of Animals, based in San Rafael, Calif. They say the deer can be managed with nonlethal methods, including fences and contraception.

The park service plans to use those techniques, along with sharpshooters and bow hunters. The agency says the forest can't regenerate naturally because the deer density is at least three times greater than the park can sustain.

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