Survey suggests many Nanaimo residents believe deer population should be controlled
Tamara Cunningham, Daily NewsPublished: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Nanaimo officials have long acknowledged an "overpopulation" of urban black-tailed deer, but a recent VIU student survey shows people want the city to roll out more stringent measures to deal with the problem.
Sixty-one per cent of people polled say they favour the municipal government intervening with the urban deer population with stricter bylaw enforcement, a catch-and-release program or controlled hunting. Forty-nine per cent of people consider the deer population to be too large, blaming it on housing development and plentiful food within the city.
He can see the City of Nanaimo mulling more enforcement and education, but said he believes the city is not ready for a cull.
The survey was sent out at random to 80 Nanaimo homes with a 51 per cent response rate.
"We have encroached on (deer) territory in a major way . . . a cull is the ultimate thing but I am not sure we are ready for it," he said. "It would be my very last option."
The survey, a conservation outreach project by three VIU biology students, explores the public perspective on Nanaimo's the black-tailed deer population. It's authors say they the results show a basic trend in public opinion, but a more comprehensive study is needed to better aid with wildlife management efforts.
In the study, 49 per cent of people feel the urban deer population is too large and associated with issues like car collisions and property damage. Thirty-one per cent of people favoured stricter city bylaws to prevent residents from feeding deer, while 19 per cent equally favoured controlled hunting or capture-and-relocate programs to manage the population.
"One of the things that surprised me about this is how many members of the public thought action was required by the city . . . because the city and province don't seem willing to tackle (the issue) at this point," said co-author, Jessica Semper. "While (a anti-feeding bylaw) has been implemented, it doesn't seem to be enforced to heavily."
Six warnings and three fines have been issued since the City of Nanaimo started enforcing its deer feeding ban in 2011, including two tickets to the same person.