Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Hunting Revenue the BC Liberals Don't Brag About

Most British Columbians would have no reason to peruse the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Operations website to look up their Hunting and Trapping Synopsis.  That's because most British Columbians don't kill wildlife for fun and profit.

The following are some of the advertisements from the 2014-2016 Hunting and Trapping Synopsis that the BC Liberals have received revenue from.  The claim that hunters are conservationists who care very deeply about the animals that they target falls on its face with the very first advertisement.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dog Caught in Leghold Trap on Vancouver Island

Pets caught in leghold traps is a more common occurrence than most realize, rarely covered by mainstream media. Lynne Cracknell, whose dog was injured by a leghold trap near Campbell River, BC, was not expecting to be wrestling her pet out of a vice-like trap when she was out of a walk in February.

Her horrific experience didn't end there.  At her meeting with Conservation Officer Steve Petrovic she learned that trapping wolves on Vancouver Island is more prevalent than the public knows, and the rights of the trapper (not wildlife, not public safety) is the focus of BC's conservation office.

This is her story.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Conservation Officer Destroys Black Bear Cub

The first in a series regarding the BC Liberals' attitudes toward BC wildlife.  A picture will emerge of a government with a cavalier attitude towards those who are considered a "resource," and the favours they do for hunting friends who have found a source of income - killing urban deer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Oak Bay cuts $30,000 for deer management from budget

In a 4-3 vote, Oak Bay has dropped $30,000 for deer management from its budget.
“It really means that in 2016 there will be no deer management program in Oak Bay, and we’ll have to see what we do for 2017,” Mayor Nils Jensen said.
Instead, the municipality will budget $10,000 for a public survey on attitudes and awareness of urban deer and any leftover costs from last year’s deer management program.
Jensen and councillors Hazel Braithwaite and Kevin Murdock were in favour of a $30,000 budget item to create a yet-to-be-defined municipal deer management program, while councillors Tom Croft, Michelle Kirby, Tara Ney and Eric Zhelka were opposed.
Council had previously accepted the principle that the municipality had a role to play in urban deer management in partnership with the province, Jensen said.
In 2015, Oak Bay conducted a cull of deer, which prompted protests and saw 11 deer trapped and killed over a 16-day period.

In 2015, Oak Bay conducted a cull of deer, which prompted protests and saw 11 deer trapped and killed over a 16-day period.   Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Divided council agrees to manage deer

By Christine van Reeuwyk – Oak Bay News
posted Mar 25, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Whatever a plan may look like, Oak Bay will tackle deer in its boundaries.
In a lengthy conversation surrounding a grant request for the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society’s proposed Deer Plan Oak Bay, Coun. Kevin Murdoch nailed down the answer to a question he presented in January.

Sitting as committee of the whole, with Mayor Nils Jensen and Coun. Eric Zhelka participating via conference call, council agreed to pursue deer management “in partnership with the province.”

The second portion of the motion, which is a recommendation to council and would require adoption, refers to the responsibility for deer, which falls under the purview of the province.

It’s the main reason Coun. Michelle Kirby opposed the motion. “We’re at capacity,” she said, reiterating her stance the province should tend to its deer.  Zhelka also opposed the deer philosophy following nearly three hours of discussion.

“We’re turning our back on science,” Zhelka said.

In a bid for funding, UWSS board member Ralph Archibald outlined the society’s proposed Deer Plan Oak Bay during the March 21 meeting.

The five-point multi-year plan includes: effective public education, population model, survey of attitudes, deer abundance estimation and immune-contraception. The 2016 budget would require $38,000 funding from Oak Bay and $20,000 potentially available through the Ministry of Forests lands and Natural Resource Operations. Though the application deadline has long passed, municipal staff indicated the province seemed positive at the concept of an Oak Bay proposal.

The cost to the district for the entire five-part proposal for 2016 would be about $38,250.

Assuming $20,000 annual funding from the province, UWSS would need $27,500 a year from 2017 to 2020 from Oak Bay.

“We believe we’d see a reduction in human/deer conflict,” Archibald said. “We believe this would be positive action. there would be very little draw on staff time.”

Murdoch posed the question: “How do we determine the right number of deer?”

“The right number of deer will be defined by the citizens,” said Archibald.
“We don’t know the answer to the question because we haven’t asked it (of the community). There may not be a need for us to do anything. That’s a possibility,” he added. “We’re not in a position to say at this time … that there is categorically a need to reduce the number of deer that are here.”

That sentiment troubled Jensen, who contends the ecological damage alone signifies a need to reduce the number of deer in the community.

Bryan Gates, president of UWSS, suggested Oak Bay could be at “biological carrying capacity” – the maximum population the environment can sustain indefinitely.

“We have no evidence this population is growing, we have no evidence it’s declining. I believe we’re at biological carrying capacity,” he said. “We would like to work with you for the scientific information.”

Coun. Tara Ney, who felt the proposal was “well thought out, and it makes good common sense,” moved that Oak Bay contract UWSS to conduct a sampling survey of attitudes in the community at a cost of $17,250.

Jensen asked, and Archibald confirmed, if information and survey suggested a cull is warranted and wanted, the society would not support that.

“We want to know all the options are possible,” Jensen said, adding that includes relocation and cull as well as immune-contraception. He also voiced concern over perceived bias should the society, a proponent of immuno-contraception, be contracted to conduct the survey.

The contracting motion failed and wasn’t followed up by any other suggestions regarding UWSS funding. However, council, sitting as committee, agreed unanimously to have staff bring back a “high-level report” costing out an attitudes survey during Estimates where they discuss budget.

“This does not mean we’re not partnering with UWSS at all,” Murdoch said in response to Zhelka’s concerns.

Estimates meetings are scheduled for April 6 and 13 at 5:30 p.m. at municipal hall 2167 Oak Bay Ave. The next council meeting is Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m.

Oak Bay council has agreed to manage deer, but what that will look like is still unclear.
— image credit: Jennifer Blyth/Oak Bay News

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Overstepping a School District's Responsibility

Following the trap and kill urban deer cull in Cranbrook this January, DeerSafe has become aware that a letter signed by the Chair of School District #5, Frank Lento of Fernie, was sent to four Kootenay town councils and copied to several ministers and the Premier on February 10, 2016.

Bringing the deer hysteria in this province to a new level, the letter claims that “one of these incidents will culminate in student injury or casualty in the future.”

Provincial health and safety protocols are in place when human life is endangered by wildlife with a phone call to the Conservation Office. An incident at Eileen Madsen Primary School in Invermere indicates that the staff of at least one school in the district knew what to do, and Conservation Officers attended the school the next day.

“There have been three incidents where students were either brought indoors or moved to a different part of the playground because of deer not leaving the area, said Paul Carriere, superintendent for School District 6, stressing that the moves were made as precautionary measures, not because students were in any immediate danger.” (“Recess cancelled due to deer” Columbia Valley Pioneer, February 24, 2012).

Do the teachers and parents in School District #5 know that this letter was sent on their behalf? What is the status of the school district's public education regarding how students and staff should behave around ungulates? Has a notice gone out to parents advising them to talk to their children about feeding deer while at school?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Deer discussion delayed to March

By Christine Van Reeyuwyk
February 11, 2016 · Updated 4:03 PM

Council’s conversation on deer is rescheduled for its March committee of the whole meeting after council deemed the February agenda too full.
The subject of deer had been tentatively suggested for the Feb. 15 meeting when council also plans to discuss the Uplands sewer separation project and the final stages of an age-friendly strategy.
“When we have deer on the agenda, that tends to be filled with lots of input and lots of views,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen.
Options were to add it to the Feb. 22 council meeting or put the conversation over to March.
Coun. Eric Zhelka made a bid to have a portion of the topic discussed during Monday’s meeting in an effort to apply for a government grant to start on a portion of the Oak Bay proposal by the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society.
The Provincial Urban Deer Operational Cost Share Program provides financial support to local governments this fiscal year within their jurisdiction.
Eligible projects could be operational activities or research trials. The province indicates research includes trials in translocation and immuno-contraception which is a major component of the UWSS proposal.
The UWSS Oak Bay Deer Management Plan includes a “survey of community attitudes” drafted by the society’s scientists and reviewed by an expert. The survey is “shovel-ready” and eligible for matching funds as a first, essential step toward a larger deer management program in the municipality, said vice-president Kristy Kilpatrick in a letter.
While content with pushing the discussion to March, Coun. Tara Ney agreed components of the UWSS program could be plucked out and offered as a shovel-ready program in a grant application. “I am disappointed if we can’t find a way to get an application in to the province,” Ney said.
With the bid to have the survey discussed Feb. 15 defeated, Zhelka urged council to consider asking the UWSS to have the paperwork in place with the survey funding in mind. Other members around the table questioned whether staff would have time to aid in the application, which must come from local government, and whether the proposed survey would be applicable as deer-reduction research.
Ney argued it “could be seen as part of an action research project.”
Rushing the process to get a grant could backfire, said Coun. Kevin Murdoch.
“It’s probably worthwhile having some public input,” he said. “I don’t think it should be shoehorned in … If it’s not where we want to go as a council, it’s not money well-spent.”
The deadline to apply was Jan. 8 however, the province has indicated late applications would be considered. The program runs to March 31.
Council opted to put the entire discussion over to the March 21 committee meeting, 7 p.m. at municipal hall 2167 Oak Bay Ave.