Friday, January 22, 2016

Ron Kerr's recent letter regarding Cranbrook deer cull

Ron Kerr has taken issue with Gerry Warner's open letter to Cranbrook which criticized their latest secret cull, speculating: “I wander (sic) if he gave any thought to the fact that to get those videos they probably had to trespass on private property in the guise of secrecy.”

For two years the BC Deer Protection Society has taken out full-paged advertisements in local papers in several communities asking for permission to enter neighbouring properties to observe the cull, even sending out postcards to 3,600 households in Oak Bay.  Residents have been asked to film permit violations.  During the January 2014 deer cull in Elkford residents contacted the BCDPS with photographs to report a violation of the permit by the contractor Carmen Purdy, who was trapping during daylight hours, necessitating an investigation by MFLNRO.  This January Cranbrook residents observed two permit violations, documented them, and sent video and photographs to our Society.

Ron Kerr made an easy $16,000 when he came to Oak Bay to kill eleven deer in January 2015.  A FOI request reveals that he was the only applicant for Oak Bay's Request for Proposal. The cull was “completed without a hitch” not because of citizen complicity but because the properties chosen could only be secured in a rich municipality like Oak Bay.  Mayor Jensen himself admitted to media that although several residents had offered their properties to traps it was decided that they were not “private” enough.  Only the most affluent of Oak Bay residents could receive taxpayer-funded clover traps.  As evidenced by events in the smaller municipalities of BC, clover trap/bolt gun culls are easily observed, and they are as cruel to residents as they are to deer.

On October 14, 2015 Oak Bay police were called at 7:30 pm to respond to shots fired.  A white minivan with a sliding side door was reported to have pulled up to a small group of deer on a boulevard in the in the tony neighbourhood of Uplands, Oak Bay, and opened fire. 

If violence towards urban wildlife becomes an accepted method to deal with urbanite complaints, we will raise future generations to accept that violence is the way to deal with our problems.  Urban deer culls are affecting many municipalities in BC.  Ron Kerr came to my region to kill eleven deer and left without detection.  It's my hope that this letter will end the accusation that “outsiders” are interfering with local issues. 

Kelly Carson
President, BC Deer Protection Society

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Former Cranbrook Councilor Slams Current Mayor and Council

A challenge to apologize

Published January 19, 2016
Letter to the Editor
Say it ain’t so, Cranbrook city hall!
I still have difficulty believing that mayor, city council and CAO would approve a clandestine deer cull (kill) in-camera without the taxpayers knowledge while telling the public they were going to translocate deer instead of killing them. Then carry out the cull spending taxpayers’ money doing it – and at the same time – accept plaudits from the many opposed to the cull including the Animal Alliance of Canada who offered to donate $10,000 to the translocation program.
Then when their sleazy, deceitful act was exposed in a video – yes, a YouTube video! – by the animal rights people and questioned by the media they stick their haughty noses in the air and say they don’t discuss sordid deeds like this in the media!
But unless the sun has started rising in the west and setting in the east this is apparently what they did. And once again Cranbrook’s name has been darkened from coast-to-coast-to coast. In his play Hamlet, Shakespeare says “something is rotten in the state of Demark.” Well, I’m going to update the Bard and say unequivocally that “something is rotten at Cranbrook City Hall” and it’s time these representatives of the people fessed up.
And oh yes, I have special knowledge of this situation and know how difficult an issue the deer situation is because I was a city councillor myself in the previous administration and foolishly made the same mistake myself of approving a deer cull in-camera without telling the people. But when our council got caught in the act, I admitted what we had done, apologized to the public and condemned council for what it had done starting with myself first.
Never again, I said, and it didn’t happen again during that council’s term. Instead we did surveys and studied the problem, which didn’t do a hell of a lot of good either. But at least we didn’t hide behind the public’s back. So I challenge this council, the mayor and the CAO to do the right thing and apologize publicly to the citizens of Cranbrook for your perfidy. In the circumstances, it’s the least you can do.
Gerry Warner,

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Deer Protection Society files complaint

Posted: January 13, 2016,

The BC Deer Protection Society (BCDPS) Jan. 8 filed a complaint to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations about incidents involving fawns in clover traps.
“In mid-December 2015, Cranbrook began to cull deer without notification to area residents. The only public notification came from the BC Deer Protection Society and Animal Alliance of Canada in an ad that ran in the Cranbrook Townsman prior to the start of the cull,” the BCDPS stated in a January 12 press release.
“The incidents show the cruelty of the cull, captured through photographs and video footage. Two incidents in particular reveal violations of the terms of the cull permit issued by the minister. Footage for one incident shows a fawn captured in a trap (unedited video documents the fawn pacing for over two hours). The cull contactors arrive, collapsing the trap on the animal and applying the bolt gun. The cull contractors stand and the fawn moves. They apply the bolt gun a second time. The fawn moves again as the contractors try to erect the trap. They drop it and observe the fawn. One contractor starts to reach for the bolt gun but stops. They proceed again to erect the trap and drag the fawn away by the hind leg. In both cases the fawn is seen moving,” the BCDPS described.
“The cull contractor returns immediately leaving the fawn still alive and unattended. A total of six minutes passed between the arrival of the contractors and the removal of the deer ( Photographs from a second incident show two fawns entangled in a trap that has collapsed on them (pictured above). They remain entangled and compressed for at least two hours prior to the arrival of the cull contractors. It is not known at this time whether the fawns’ struggle was so violent as to dislodge the mechanism holding the trap upright or whether the mechanism was faulty.
“Regardless, no one checked the trap during that two-hour period to end the suffering of these two animals. ( In the letter to the minister, we urge him in the strongest possible terms to end the cull, conduct a full investigation of the violations of the permit and lay charges where appropriate. In addition, we ask that the permit for the current contractor be revoked until the investigation is complete,” the BCDPS release concluded.
E-KNOW this morning contacted the City of Cranbrook for comment on the contents of the press release.
“Mayor (Lee) Pratt has indicated he doesn’t want to get into a debate through the media with Liz White or the Animal Alliance,” noted city Corporate Communications Officer Chris Zettel.
The BCDPS release is signed by Devin Kazakoff Liz White, Barry MacKay and Sherry Adams.
BCDPS image

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Animal Alliance looking forward to relocation trial

Posted December 28, 2015 12:07 pm
Arne Petryshen

Animal Alliance of Canada is one of the project partners in the upcoming recently announced mule deer relocation trial.

A trial project to translocate urban mule deer from four communities in the East Kootenay will begin later this winter. Mule deer will be live-captured in Elkford, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere, and transported to winter range areas in the East Kootenay where natural non-urban mule deer populations have been in decline for several years.

Liz White, executive director of the organization, said they are looking forward to the project.

“As you know, we’ve been part of opposing the deer culls that occurred in Elkford, Kimberley, Cranbrook, Invermere… over the last few years,” White said, adding that when the government decided they would look at non-lethal alternatives, Animal Alliance agreed to participate.

“So that’s what we’re doing in hopes that municipalities will begin looking at a variety of different non-lethal alternatives that I think will begin to help kind of deal with specific issues that culling clearly does not,” she said. “There are animals that they say are a problem, but there’s no guarantee that those animals are the ones being killed in the traps. It calls into question the efficacy of the culling.”

White hopes the government will get on board with the alternative methods, as it is up to it to change the provincial regulations to allow alternatives to culling.
White said that the government agreeing to participate in the relocation pilot is a good indication that the government may be opening up to the idea.

“This is a program that requires engagement by government officials in terms of allowing use of effects on deer that would not ordinarily be allowed, like using drugs on them to tranquilize them and that kind of thing,” she said, adding the provincial veterinarian also has to be involved.

Animal Alliance is assisting in the purchase of radio collars for the relocation study.

The collars will allow for the relocated to be monitored. That will allow the whole thing to be evaluated.

White said it has been quite difficult dealing with the government on these issues in the past.

“There has been over a period of time, resistance to alternatives,” she said, noting that Kimberley had applied a number of years ago to try hazing and got permission for a one-off trial. White said hazing has to happen in a much more planned and coordinated way to work effectively. She added it needs to be combined with other techniques, such as not allowing people to feed deer.

“Most municipalities, Kimberley being the exception, have a bylaw but don’t enforce it,” she said.

White also said that killing the deer doesn’t solve the issue of urban deer.

“If you look at the numbers, I think they’ve had four culls and really the number of mule deer they’ve counted has not gone down substantially,” she said. “It just doesn’t work.”

She noted Animal Alliance was disappointed that Cranbrook proceeded with a cull earlier in 2015.

White said she will be coming to the area to observe the relocation.

“It’s a whole coordinated thing and a whole bunch of people who haven’t really got along very well together in the past are all kind of working together, it’s kind of nice,” she said.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Urban mule deer translocation trial set to begin

Posted December 21, 2015 e-KNOW

After extensive planning and discussions, a trial project to translocate urban mule deer from four communities in the East Kootenay will begin later this winter.

Mule deer will be live-captured in Elkford, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere, and transported to winter range areas in the East Kootenay where natural non-urban mule deer populations have been in decline for several years.

This trial project, which has received widespread support, is a response to the desire of many to find a non-lethal option to reduce urban deer populations. While the hope is that translocation will prove to be a reliable management tool, the current project is designed to scientifically test if translocation of urban deer is humane and effective. Humane treatment of deer is the primary focus throughout the process.

“The objective of this project is to test how urban mule deer respond once they’ve been moved to natural environments,” explained lead project biologist Ian Adams of Cranbrook-based VAST Resource Solutions. “For the project to prove successful, translocated deer must not return to either their home community or any other urban area. From the outset we’ve been clear that deer moved from one community are not to become a nuisance elsewhere.”

Another question is how deer cope with predators.

“A concern of many is that urban deer have become na├»ve to predators,” said Adams. “These are animals that are now accustomed to staring down perceived threats from people and pets, particularly dogs. Whether deer retain some innate memory of predators can only be tested by moving deer from urban areas to natural areas.”

In order to track their movement and survival, 20 of the translocated deer will be fitted with GPS radio collars. The collars are programmed to connect with Global Positioning System satellites, just like a GPS unit used by geocachers or the dashboard of a vehicle.

Up to two locations of the deer are sent daily to biologists to track their movements. A collar will also send out notification if it doesn’t move for eight hours. Biologists will then track it down as soon as possible to determine if the deer has died and, if so, establish cause of death. All deer will have visible ear tags to identify them as translocated urban mule deer.

“The timing of this trial project is great,” said Adams. “B.C. provincial biologists are currently running a similar project on non-urban mule deer, using the same GPS collar technology. We’ll be able to compare movement and survival of translocated urban deer with natural mule deer in the same areas at the same time. It’s an ideal scientific control.”

The communities involved are pleased to have the trial proceed and the opportunity to be involved. Partnerships and cooperation are key to the project’s success, Adams suggested.

This work has brought together provincial and municipal governments, the conservation community and others. Animal Alliance of Canada, which has been forthright in their opposition to culling, supports the project and has contributed financially to its implementation.”

Local wildlife conservation clubs are important partners and strong supporters of the project, volunteering their efforts to help implement the translocation.

"We are pleased to be part of a project exploring alternatives to the lethal management of deer who frequent urban environments,” said Liz White, Director of Animal Alliance of Canada. “We hope that the communities involved will continue to seek alternatives to culling.”

“As a leading municipality on this translocation trial project we are pleased with the partnerships made on this project, and the progress to-date, and look forward to implementation later this winter,” said District of Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher.

“The issues associated with urban deer are not going to go away,” stated City of Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick. “Municipalities have limited options for dealing with these issues, and translocation seems to be one option that is supported by all interest groups. If successful, translocation will offer far more flexibility than a cull and be a welcome addition to our toolkit.”

City of Cranbrook’s Corporate Communications Officer, Chris Zettel, stated, “For several years now, communities in this region affected by large urban deer populations have been seeking additional tools to deal with the problem. We are excited to be a partner in this trial, which we see as a promising step forward.”

This project is funded, in part, through the Upper Kootenay Ecosystem Enhancement Plan (UKEEP), which is a partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT). Significant additional financial support has been provided by all project partners.

Partners include: District of Elkford, City of Kimberley, City of Cranbrook, District of Invermere, Animal Alliance of Canada, B.C. Ministry of Forest, Lands & Natural Resource Operations, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Columbia Basin Trust, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers of British Columbia and local Rod and Gun Clubs.

VAST Resource Solutions Inc. is a privately owned environmental consulting company based in the East Kootenay of British Columbia. The company provides professional natural resource management and engineering services to a wide variety of industry and government clients.

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.