Monday, February 23, 2015

Animal Alliance pledges $10,000 for translocation study

by  Carolyn Grant - Kimberley Daily Bulletin
posted Feb 23, 2015 at 8:00 AM

As reported in the Bulletin last week, the Animal Alliance, a national animal rights group, is willing to hit B.C. in the wallet to protest the treatment of animals. They are mounting an anti-wolf cull campaign to try to keep people from visiting British Columbia.

However, the group is also willing to put their money into non-lethal methods at wildlife management. To that end the group has pledged $10,000, matching City of Kimberley’s contribution, towards a study into translocating deer.

Mayor Don McCormick says that the City will take Animal Alliance up on the offer, though it has yet to be formally approved by Council.

Liz White, Campaign Director for Animal Alliance, says that ever since deer culls began to become a wildlife management tool in British Columbia, her group has been advocating looking for alternatives. However, she says, relocation of deer is not without problems and must be approached with a degree of caution.

“Something is going on with the mule deer population in the East Kootenay in the wild,” she said.

“The population is in decline and the Ministry hasn’t done the studies to determine why. If the external environment can’t support the current population, how can it support additional animals?”

White says there may be parts of the East Kootenay where mule deer are doing well and could support translocated animals, but there is also the issue of predation.

“Translocated deer are under a high degree of stress and it appears that they are more vulnerable to predators,” White said.

Despite these concerns, the idea of looking at non-lethal methods is a very positive one, White says.

“We just want to see animals treated with the greatest compassion and humaneness.”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oak Bay takes province to task over deer control


This Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations photo shows a modified clover trap like those proposed for use in an Oak Bay deer cull. - Photo submitted
This Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations photo shows a modified clover trap like those proposed for use in an Oak Bay deer cull.
— image credit: Photo submitted
Speakers called for a halt to the deer cull and Oak Bay council crafted a resolution to ask the province for more help with its deer issues on Monday night.
Among the seven speakers at the council meeting Feb. 10 were a pair of Saanich residents as well as visitors Liz White and Barry McKay of Animal Alliance Canada.
“There’s nothing new here,” McKay said of the rift in the community.
“Culling doesn’t work and sometimes has the paradoxical cycle of increased population,” he added.
Oak Bay resident speakers also called for a halt to the cull, including Kristy Kilpatrick who reiterated concerns over lack of signage, public education and a survey of the community. Kilpatrick added she feels those leading the pilot project are presenting “false choices” between culling and doing nothing.
“It takes courage to stop things mid-way,” she said.
A supporter of the cull spoke last in the 20-minute public participation period. Andrew Stinson noted that deer was a hot topic during the election and the mayoral candidate in favour of a cull won the vote.
“I firmly believe Oak Bay has a mandate to carry out the cull,” he said. “Do not listen to the minority of Oak Bay.”
While the opponents of the cull were greeted with applause, Stinson’s comments were booed.
The crowd stayed to hear Oak Bay’s plan to ask the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities to take the province to task on its deer.
During the AVICC annual general meeting and convention, municipal governments gather to bring forward issues and concerns from their individual communities through resolutions and debates.
Oak Bay will ask AVICC to request the province provide resources including conservation officers and urban wildlife biologists, and build necessary partnerships with Health Canada and local governments to address deer over population.
Coun. Michelle Kirby made the motion that asserts the resources, authority and responsibility to manage ungulate populations lies with the province. The preamble also says the combination of favourable habitats, no natural predators and the inability to allow hunting have contributed to expanding populations and exacerbated the problem of human-deer conflict in urban settings.
“This is a burden on our small municipality and we don’t have that expertise,” said Kirby. “We can’t meet the needs of the community. … They’re downloading this responsibility and they need to own it.”
It’s a resolution that has been put forth before by communities such as Kimberley, Kirby found, but this includes an angle of creating partnerships and including Health Canada, which Oak Bay believes could allow for immunocontraception to be considered a viable option.
“I consider it a symbolic motion,” said Coun. Eric Zhelka “I don’t see this will result in any action.  At least we can try.”
The deadline for resolutions to the AVICC is Feb. 23, and as per usual practice Oak Bay’s motion will go out to other councils in search of support.
All members of council plan to attend the AVICC annual general meeting and convention in Courtenay from April 10 to 12.

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Couple cancels stay


Oak Bay News
Letters to the Editor
Feb 3, 2015

After reading a feature article in the Globe and Mail, my wife and I became quite dismayed over this needless kill of deer in Oak Bay.  Upset enough that we have now cancelled a two-night stay and dinner out with four others at two Oak Bay businesses.  After a brief discussion it was the same opinion of others involved to cancel as well.  It was concluded the only power we had was to not spend any more money in Oak Bay and encourage others to do the same.
This is our form of protest of  what we believe is a needless kill,  especially when there are other non-lethal options as outlined in the Globe article.  Wildlife biologist Rick Page says “Ecologically the deer are not a threat” and supports the stop of the cull.  We  also believe that the Oak Bay mayor is fear-mongering.
My wife Elaine Tanner  (ex Olympian triple medalist swimmer) visits Oak Bay frequently having relatives in the area.  Both of us have noticed over the years the absence of squirrels in Oak Bay parks and streets.  Elaine wonders if they have met the same fate as the deer.  As far as the deer creating a serious safety issue for cyclists, people should be more concerned about humans – with crazy car drivers or poor lighting  on roads or inadequate bike lanes – than an  occasional defenceless deer.
We are cancelling accommodations and dinner for six  that was scheduled this week in Oak Bay.
Elaine asked me to pass on the following  quote: “There are only two things which are infinite, the universe and mankind’s stupidity, and I am not so sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein.
John Watt & Elaine Tanner
White Rock, B.C.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wildlife activists to cast eyes on deer cull in Oak Bay


Bill Cleverley / Times Colonist
January 17, 2015 10:36 PM

VKA-deer-135.jpg

Oak Bay’s cull of up to 25 deer could begin this month.   Photograph By ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist
Wildlife activists say if Oak Bay moves ahead with its planned deer cull, they will be there to record it.

A mailout delivered to 5,600 Oak Bay and area households last week urges residents to notify DeerSafe Victoria if they see a deer trap.

“What we want to prove is, this is not a humane kill,” said DeerSafe spokeswoman Kelly Carson, adding the group does not plan to interfere with the traps.

“We’re there to observe the kill. We’ll be watching the traps for 24 hours or for as long as they are on the property. I think what we can report back or if we can get footage, I think it will turn peoples’ stomachs and there will be more of a push for non-lethal management.”

Oak Bay’s controversial deer-management initiative includes a cull of up to 25 deer, beginning as early as this month. The municipality has yet to receive a permit from the province for the cull.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said that he expects people to respect the law and property rights. “I assume and expect that protesters will be respectful not only to property rights but to the animals and also act lawfully,” Jensen said.

Deer caught in the traps are not upset about being trapped, he said. “What upsets them are people who approach it. So if a protester were to approach these traps, it would have an adverse impact on the deer and we don’t want that to happen.”

Oak Bay’s deer program is being done in conjunction with a $150,000 Capital Regional District deer management pilot project.

The provincial permit requires a conflict-reduction program, deer-vehicle collision mitigation, public education plans and a deer count prior to any cull, all of which have been completed.

The cull came about in response to complaints from residents that deer were destroying gardens and shrubs, and posing a danger to people and pets.

“We’re doing this for public safety. We’re doing this for public health and also for the animal’s health,” Jensen said. “To have approximately 40 animals a year impaled on fences or killed by cars is not humane. This [the cull] is a humane program and it has been viewed as that by the B.C. wildlife veterinary.”

Jensen said 30,000 deer a year are killed in B.C. during the 75-day hunting season. “We are proposing a mere 25 in an urban environment for the safety of our public.”

Kristy Kilpatrick, who represents another group of residents concerned about the proposed cull, said the process leading up to the permit application has been flawed and public consultation inadequate.
She said the municipality’s deer count was unscientific and mitigation efforts insufficient, and that the eventual cull of 25 deer is not expected to have any meaningful impact.

“I think it would make very good sense to, instead of proceeding with the cull, start to direct whatever funds they have to putting other steps you can do to mitigate deer-human conflict [such as] public education and outreach, signage, reducing the speed limit and educating people,” she said.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com