Belle Isle has had a long and storied history of having European fallow deer live on the island. Legend has it that the deer arrived as a gift from the president of France in 1895. They were placed in the deer park, which was a part of the original Belle Isle Zoo. In 1930, the deer were released to freely roam the island. In 2002, due to illness and overpopulation, all of the fallow deer on the island were corralled together. The Belle Isle Nature Center currently houses a small herd from the original population that was on Belle Isle.
Public feeding opportunities may be available at the Deer Encounter.