By Lori Kalef, SPCAI Staff
In a city known for its majestic scenery and peaceful beauty, recent news headlines in Victoria, BC, Canada have been quite the opposite. They have been darkened by news of an urban deer cull slated to start later this month.
British Columbia’s Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Ministry published an urban deer management fact sheet stating that urban deer have become a safety concern to communities due to growing conflicts between people and pets, an increase in deer-automobile accidents and the tendency for deer to attract other wild predators. The ministry will issue permits and supply 25 collapsible “Clover Traps” to be placed in quiet areas at dusk to all communities opting for culls in hopes of reducing the urban deer population. The traps, which resemble oversized hockey nets, will be monitored daily but the 25 deer awaiting their imminent fate may have to wait many stressful and panicked hours before the trained contractors arrive to “bolt gun” them in the head.
Local animal rights groups say that BC communities should fully explore non-lethal ways to combat deer overpopulation. Spokesperson Kelly Carson of Deer Safe Victoria says, “It’s not too late to conduct scientific deer counts, track the movements of deer between municipal boundaries, and research non-lethal deer management methods.”
The Ministry has stated that it would not authorize the use of tranquilizers, contraceptive programs, like the emerging SpayVac™ which blocks fertilization when administered intramuscularly, or relocation due to added risks when caught and the deer reacting poorly to new and foreign environments.
Last week, SPCA International was on the scene during a well-attended protest outside the Municipal Hall in Oak Bay, Victoria. Citizens were furious that no other method to control the overpopulation were taken seriously and expressed that killing 25 deer will not produce a significant impact on the over population crisis. Rather, it will create a compensatory rebound effect, inviting surrounding deer to move in to the vacated areas because of enhanced food supply and begin reproducing at a faster rate.
In countries like Romania where mass killing of unwanted stray dogs and cats are receiving worldwide scrutiny due to lack of education, resources and sterilization or contraceptive protocol, it is inexplicable that a province with educated options and adequate funding would see a cull as the only solution.
“If Oak Bay is willing to spend $1,000 a deer to bolt gun them in the head, then they should be willing to do more,” says Kelly Carson. The deadline to conduct the cull is February 28th, but the decision making is approaching fast. To support humane options and a sterilization protocol, please send your letter to the Mayor of Oak Bay by using this link at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about SpayVac™, visit http://terramar.bc.ca/technical.html
To Oak Bay Municipality:
We, the undersigned urge Oak Bay to abandon your plans to clover trap/bolt gun 25 urban deer in your community. Culling deer does not work due to the recompensentary rebound response in wildlife that are removed in numbers, and is inhumane to the animals and to the residents, including children, who will witness these traps in their neighborhoods.
Oak Bay has the opportunity to set the precedent and lead the province in humane human/urban deer mitigation management for other provinces and states to follow. Please help your residents to co-exist with the deer in your city by providing fencing, lower speed limits, deer-resistant plants and public education and contraceptive options, all which have worked in other communities.
Oak Bay deer are threatened with a cull despite the fact that overpopulation has not been proven. Please thoroughly research the numbers of your urban deer and their movements between other municipalities.