Sunday, October 18, 2015

Spay Vac Project Thwarted by Pro-cull Politicians

There was much optimism in the room after the July 22, 2015 meeting of the Planning, Transportation and Protective Services Committe concerning a $35,000 grant to the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society when the majority of the Directors agreed that the organization should receive a grant for their work in non-lethal deer management. Although none of our local media attended, Oak Bay News ran this story:

Now on the CRD website:

The Chair of the CRD, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, is also on the Finance Committee.

“What I would feel most comfortable with … would be to say reduce the amount [that the municipality of Oak Bay would grant to UWSS] to $5,000 but give it to them based on them receiving the funding from the CRD,” said Coun. Hazel Braithwaite [Oak Bay]. “I would still like to see some of the education part go on and the count go on.”

With arrows shot through publicly funded deer signs, bullets fired at deer in broad daylight in the Uplands, and pro-cull councillors who want public education, deer signs and deer counts conducted and funded by grass roots groups, it appears that Oak Bay isn't the most progressive municipality in the CRD that should recieve the efforts and the expertise that the UWSS offers.

Urban deer don’t attract cougars

Times Colonist, Oct 18, 2015

Re: “Cougar sightings reason to cull deer,” letter, Oct. 7.

I would like to dispel a widely held but incorrect view: that urban deer are attracting cougars. I am a retired biologist with 35 years of experience in wildlife management.
In the late 1970s, the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch produced maps that illustrated the distribution and abundance of each of the province’s large mammal species. I did the extensive background research for the cougar map.
One common thread was cougars coming into Victoria. This is nothing new and has happened every year as far back as records have been kept. In 1973, a cougar was shot on the steps of the Carnegie Building at Yates and Blanshard. Around the same time, another one entered the main foyer of a downtown office building. In 1998, a cougar walked into the old office of Scott Plastics near Fisherman’s Wharf.
These are a few of many such cases. All of these examples were in the last century. Deer only became numerous in Victoria since the year 2000.
Cougars are territorial, and young ones are forced into marginal areas by mature cats that occupy the best territories. This sometimes means living nearer to people than the cougar would like.
Generally, cougars want nothing to do with people, and if you think about it, how would they even know the deer are here? Do people think there is a sign in cougar language at the top of the Malahat that reads: “For a good lunch, go to Oak Bay”?
John Thornton

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Police Investigate Alleged Shooting of Deer in Oak Bay

October 15, 2015 07:30 from Adam Stirling

“Oak Bay police are investigating the possible shooting of deer in the municipality last night.

Residents in the Uplands area reported seeing a white van around 7:30pm approach a group of deer assembled on a boulevard. What is believed to have been a gunshot rang out as the deer scattered.

A nearby homeowner says what appeared to be an injured buck took refuge in their back yard for a period of time after the incident.

Police inspected the scene today and found evidence of an animal losing significant amounts of blood, but there was no sign of the buck.

The van is described only as white and being a late-90s model. Anyone with any information is asked to contact police.”

We are NOT going to be terrified into using our tax dollars to bolt gun deer in the head because these frustrated gardeners "mean business." Our municipal leaders need to be cognizant of the violence that this shooting has perpetrated on us all by the thinly veiled threat that was intended by this cowardly act.

We want safe cities that manage wildlife using science and compassion. Anything else will leave us all vulnerable to the violent-minded.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Young Family is Terrified by Anti Deer Violence

Deer shot in drive-by in front of Bragg Creek home

Family is shocked by incident and worried about two fawns left behind

CBC News Posted: Oct 07, 2015 7:07 PM MT Last Updated: Oct 07, 2015 9:08 PM MT

Mackenzie Walsh and her three-year-old daughter Tilly in front of their house where a doe with two fawns was shot by a man in a BMW. (Allison Dempster/CBC)

It was a drive-by worthy of a Disney script.
A deer and her two fawns had been regular visitors to the Walsh family's West Bragg Creek property since spring, enough that Mackenzie Walsh says they were "almost like pets to us."
So she and her family reacted with horror when a man drove up in a BMW last weekend and shot the doe in front of their home.

The doe was killed on the weekend in front of the Walsh family home in West Bragg Creek. (Walsh family) 

The gunshot startled her three-year-old daughter Tilly and sent her husband running out the door to confront the man.
"He said, 'Stop!', and the guy peeled off. And then Justin, my husband, went and looked and sure enough he had shot the mom deer 15 metres basically from where we were sitting in our living room," Walsh told CBC News.
"Had he missed it could've gone straight through our window."
Walsh says people in the area are outraged by the incident, and she's concerned for the two fawns, which the family has named Hope and Grace.
"She has these two babies that now have no mom," Walsh said. "And I know it is that time of year where they're getting weaned, but they're not weaned yet and they need to bulk up before winter comes and it comes fast here, so that's another concern."

Two fawns in Bragg Creek will have to face the winter alone after a man in a BMW shot their mother last weekend. (Walsh family)

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers, as well as the RCMP, are looking into the incident, but have not yet identified the driver, who could face numerous charges including careless use of a firearm.
"Why did the deer die?" Tilly asks.
"When the mom died I heard that noise ... that 'boom.' It was really, really, really loud."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Taking Out the Trash in Kimberley

By Brenda Ann Babinski,
posted September 30, 2015

City of Kimberley council voted unanimously September 28 to adopt the new Solid Waste Regulations and Rates Bylaw No. 2520.
One of the purposes of the new bylaw amendment is to help minimize wildlife interaction with the waste management. The amendment includes the mandatory use of bins for garbage.  Leaving trash in bags on the curb attracts small wildlife and birds that can easily get through the plastic and into the trash.  The amendment requires homeowners set out their trash no earlier than 5 a.m. on their waste collection day.
The amended bylaw covers the separation of yard waste and recyclables from normal household garbage.  This change is meant to help reduce the impact on the regional landfill by encouraging residents to recycle.
Mayor Don McCormick says the City of Kimberley will be offering educational and promotional campaigns to the residents to help them understand the changes and assist in the implementation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Re: National Post Full Comment by Brian Hutchinson

“After cull enrages “Save Bambi” crowd, BC creates 100k/year “advisory committee” on urban deer”

September 28, 2015

* In a purely emotional comment, Brian Hutchinson, Vancouver columnist for the National Post,  attempted to explain the need for urban deer culls using the clover trap/bolt gun method.  DeerSafe points out his lack of research and reliance on an exerpt from the post-cull report by Oak Bay. *

VANCOUVER — Residents of verdant Oak Bay, B.C. are on red alert after Ollie, a nine-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, was brutally attacked and killed earlier this month while “doing his business” in his owner’s front yard.

“His little head was smashed right open,” his distraught owner told CHEK TV. “It was all over very quickly. He just dropped dead instantly.”

* A tragic event. Media did not cover another tragic death of a dog at the Cattle Point parking lot – which is in Oak Bay, not Victoria where Ollie's owner actually lives – where a driver deliberately ran over someone's beloved pet right before their eyes. * 
Ollie’s killer was an unfettered ungulate. Specifically, a deer. An aggressive buck is now wanted in Oak Bay for crimes against canines. What fate might befall the buck, should a local human ever confront it, is unclear.

* Witnesses at the scene were not sure this was a buck. *

Oak Bay residents are conflicted about their urban deer, which number in the dozens — if not hundreds — and get into all kinds of trouble. * Exaggeration that is permissible due to lack of evidence. * Garden pilferage, traffic accidents, sometimes pet homicide. The cleanest, most sensible solution is to shoot problem deer, and whenever possible to butcher the carcasses and give the meat to community groups, First Nations and whomever else might have a taste for venison. * Urban deer will not pass a meat inspection. *
But when such a cull operation launched in Oak Bay earlier this year, and 11 deer were trapped and shot dead over 16 days, the “Save Bambi” crowd howled. Local politicians scampered off in fear.

* The Oak By pilot project was intended as an experiment to see if deer could be clover trapped and bolt gunned in a densely urbanized municipality.  The target was 25 deer, so 11 would appear to be a dismal failure. *
“Regardless of having the support of the silent majority in our community, * exaggeration that is permissible due to lack of evidence * there is currently no permitted and socially acceptable way to responsibly and ethically manage a growing population of urban deer * exaggeration that is permissible due to lack of evidence * in a manner that does not financially and emotionally severely challenge the municipal leadership who are taking action,” reads an April 2015 post-cull report from the District of Oak Bay.

So that was that. No more culls in emotionally-challenged Oak Bay, where deer roam free and half-wild. Bad news for Ollie, indeed.

* An emotional statement itself. *
The fact is, deer are running amok in cities and municipalities across B.C., and the rest of Canada, too. * Exaggeration that is permissible due to lack of evidence. * A few days before Ollie’s business was interrupted and he died, Vancouver witnessed its own deer-related death. A slender buck, briefly beloved for nosing nonchalantly around the downtown core, emerged from its adopted home in Stanley Park and was smoked by a passing motorist. * Smoked?  A comment that is as insensitive to deer as any motorist who speeds, then blames others when things go wrong. *
The Vancouver Park Board issued a solemn statement on the animal’s “passing,” describing the death as a “tragedy.” The park board dared not mention the right answer to its local urban deer problem. Shoot-to-cull is anathema in butter-soft Vancouver. Deer adoption seems the preferred option here.

Alas, “finding sanctuaries willing to receive animals in these circumstances is a challenge,” says the park board. * Sanctuaries are privately funded. If government wants to off-load wildlife to them they should be fully funding them as well. *
Into the breach stepped the provincial government, which last week announced it will set up a Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee, to discuss ad infinitum the issue, and direct up to $100,000 a year “for future deer management operations” across B.C.

Details are to come later, after the urban deer advisory committee members are selected, a process also shrouded in mystery. “The committee is currently being formed,” according to B.C.’s ministry of forests, lands and natural resource operations. “More details will follow.”

Here’s what committee members and other interested parties can do now: Read the myriad reports and studies already commissioned in B.C and other provinces in recent years. Hundreds and hundreds of pages, all about urban deer and the problems they cause.

Every possible solution has been discussed to death already. Capturing deer and relocating them to the woods somewhere can be effective, but it’s expensive and not so easy on the deer. “Hazing” deer, or scaring them away with dogs and devices, is almost useless. Deer aren’t stupid; they adapt. Injecting doe with birth control chemicals is a complicated business and cost-prohibitive.

* One “possible solution” hasn't been adequately explored – immunocontraception.  Oak Bay residents comprised of scientists, educators and retired government officials have formed a group called the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society. The CRD has committed $30,000 to their immunocontraceptive project, and Oak Bay council has begrudgingly committed $5,000.  Thousands have also been raised by public donation.  This pilot project is yet to be completed and assessed. *
Most reports suggest the same thing: The best way to handle problem urban deer is not to handle them. Kill them instead. And, if the specimens are healthy — frequently, they are not, poor deer — devour them. * Preferably donate them to the poor and First Nations, since the meat would not pass a government inspection. *
It’s too much to bear for some societies, where meat doesn’t come naturally at all, where steaks magically appear in grocery stores instead, nicely sliced and packaged in prophylactic cellophane. In other words, almost everywhere, now. And certainly in Vancouver and Oak Bay, where “sensitivities” are easily aroused and exploited. Just like urban deer, animal rights hardliners can be a nuisance everywhere.

The use of firearms in cities is a legitimate concern. Most Canadian municipalities prohibit the use of guns within their boundaries, so certain provisions to ensure public safety must be made. * Provisions that would take more readings of a myriad of reports and studies, not to be taken lightly when those with weapons are skulking around our municipalities. *
After its brief deer-killing experiment this year, the District of Oak Bay noted that it takes the right kind of “contractor” to conduct a cull. “Someone who is a hunter does not necessarily have the appropriate skills and temperament to manage all of the complex requirements that accompany something as sensitive in nature as this initiative,” the report reads. * Why the term "sensitive in nature?"  They are talking about horrific animal abuse, after all. *
Translation: Trophy hunters and avenging Yorkie lovers need not apply.

* “Save Bambi crowd,” “animal rights hardliners,” “emotionally challenged Oak Bay.”  Name calling is the last refuge of those who cannot logically disprove an opposing viewpoint. *

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Deer Culling Creates an Atmosphere of Violence

On the morning of September 16, 2015 a small Yorkshire terrier was tragically killed by a deer in the municipality of Victoria. In a local newscast the house of a neighbour was pictured with a deer crossing sign on the front lawn. The signs are purchased from the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society by members of the public who want to warn drivers that deer live in their neighborhoods.

A heartbreaking situation has become a platform for the pro-cull enthusiasts in a shameless attempt to bring discussion back to our communities to support the killing of deer. But the vitriol towards the deer supporters took an ominous turn when the neighbours whose house was shown on the news woke up on the morning of September 26 to find an arrow in their sign. No other signs on this street had been vandalized. The neighbour experienced a justifiable sense of intimidation. This time the arrow through the sign was a “novelty” arrow, but the message was meant to create just that; intimidation and fear.

A DeerSafe member came very close to becoming a victim of physical assault while collecting signatures for the “No to a Cull” petition to the CRD. Fortunately the angry pro-cull individual was restrained by her companions.

Some politicians have fed into a fearmongering mentality that creates a violent atmosphere for citizens. If policies are passed that lead to the deaths of wild animals who have no way out, there will be resistance by many citizens who would prefer a humane approach.

DeerSafe holds the position that lethal deer management in our communities will engender a sense in our youth that violence will solve their problems. Poor policy such as the mass slaughter of inconvenient animals is not only dangerous, it will follow us all into the future.