Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pro-Cull Mayors Ask Premier for Help

Hospital, deer cull on the agenda

by Deborah Pfeiffer - Penticton - Story: 99087
Sep 24, 2013 / 7:09 am

In response to reports that Penticton sent a higher number of delegates than other  cities to the Union of BC Municipalities convention, Mayor Garry Litke said there was a reason most of the council attended.
Primarily that the city wanted to be well represented when pushing for the expansion of the Penticton Regional Hospital.
"We were there to ensure that by this time next year, the business plan will be completed, so that we can get treasury approval, so that construction can begin," he said. "I think Minister of Health Terry Lake was taken aback by the show of support and we had a very productive meeting."
All of the councillors, with the exception of John Vassilaki, attended last week's Vancouver convention, along with the mayor and city manager.
In addition to the discussions on the hospital,  individual councillors had their own agendas from the lack of skill trades training in Penticton to cultural tourism and making the city even more of a cycling destination.
Litke said he was also pleased the UBCM backed the council's resolution on photo radar in school zones.
The resolution stemmed from problems with speeding at Parkway Elementary School, calling for better solutions.
Litke also participated in a meeting on urban deer, with other mayors dealing with the problem from Invermere , Cranbrook, Kimberley and Vancouver Island.
In that meeting with Premier Christy Clark, Litke said issues ranging from safety to devastation of the urban landscape by animals that have no desire to live in the wild anymore were discussed.
Foremost on the minds of many was the deer cull case in Invermere that is presently before the courts.
The problem in Invermere began in December of 2011,  when the city hired a contractor to move ahead with a cull and a group calling itself the Invermere Deer Protection Society got upset and sued the city, claiming emotional damage from the trauma of imagining the deer being killed.
"Invermere is facing huge legal costs and people around the world are sending hate mail to the poor young mayor," he said. "So we are asking the premier to assist with the situation, because it has grown bigger than any municipality can handle."
Penticton will continue to watch what happens with the case, in the meantime working on gathering data on alternative means of deer control such as hazing or contraceptives.
"The research will be assembled, because we are looking for a solution," he said. "And we are happy the premier was so receptive and willing to work on this. She was very empathetic to our plea to do something about this because it is a wildlife issue not a municipal issue."

Sunday, September 22, 2013


DeerSafe Victoria learned of a buck with netting on his head on August 19.  In that incident the netting had covered the buck's mouth and he was later reported on Linkleas Ave by several residents.  A Conservation Officer told DeerSafe that he had tranquilized the buck and removed the netting.  Yet another buck in Oak Bay has been seen with the same netting caught in his antlers.  The following is the CTV story:

A black tail deer has found itself with an unfortunate new headdress.

CTV British Columbia
Published Friday, September 20, 2013 9:38PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 20, 2013 9:43PM PDT
Conservation officers say there’s nothing they can do to help a deer that’s found itself with some humiliating new headwear.
Residents in the Victoria suburb of Oak Bay first noticed the blacktail buck a few weeks ago sporting what appears to be a curly new hairdo.

On closer inspection, they realized the Don King of deer had actually got its antlers tangled up in some plastic garden netting.


Don King of deer
A deer on Vancouver Island has found itself stuck in plastic garden netting, and there's nothing authorities can do to safely help. Sept. 20, 2013. (CTV)
“I was going to try and help him but decided I better not,” said Oak Bay resident Mia Barkasy. “So I took a picture of him and sent it to my husband saying, ‘And you think you’re having a bad Monday.’”
The netting isn’t affecting the deer’s health and doesn’t seem to bother him – but in a municipality that’s discussing a deer cull, it’s better not to stand out from the herd.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a good way to help the deer get out.
Conservation officers say tranquilizing the animal to remove the netting could do more harm than good, so for now they’ve decided to leave it be.
Unless the situation changes, the buck may be in for a few months of embarrassment before shedding his antlers next year.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Ed Watson

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friendly buck ‘John Deer’ has been euthanized in B.C. for being too familiar with humans

A B.C. deer famous for playing with preschoolers and nuzzling vacationers was killed by conservation officers this week because it was deemed to be too friendly.
“The deer was hand-raised and very habituated to humans, which made it a high risk for unpredictable behaviour,” read a statement by the B.C. Ministry of Environment, adding that “the deer’s behaviour was escalating due to the arrival of the breeding season.”

Provincial wildlife veterinarian Helen Schwantje says the docile deer was believed to be the same one that tangled its antlers in a child’s backpack as it tried to play with youngsters in a school playground during the first week of classes.
“I don’t think the deer needed to be euthanized … I just think it’s a tragedy,” said Liz White, a member of the Animal Alliance of Canada and a vocal opponent of a spate of recent B.C. deer culls.

On Thursday, environment officials argued that tranquilizing and relocating the deer would have been so traumatic, that it would probably have killed the animal anyway. “Translocation of deer is rarely humane,” read a statement.
As for sending the animal to a wildlife preserve, “integrating an animal with this behaviour into a captive herd would be an extreme challenge and may not be possible.”
Sadly, whenever “close encounters” with wild animals make the news, it usually signals impending doom for the animals themselves.

For five years, an orphaned killer whale named Luna became famous for loitering in the waters off Nootka Sound, B.C. In 2006, the animal was sucked into the propellers of a passing tugboat and killed.

In June, a Banff, Alta., motorcyclist gained international attention for photographing a wolf chasing him along a B.C. highway — a sure sign of an animal that had become dangerously accustomed to approaching humans for food handouts.

“They say a fed animal is a dead animal; it’s certainly something we try our best to discourage,” Omar McDadi, a Parks Canada spokesman told the National Post at the time.
| | Last Updated: 13/09/12 7:27 PM ET
National Post

Friday, September 6, 2013

Urban deer committee implodes after members resign

By Steve Hubrecht
The Invermere Urban Deer Advisory Committee is suddenly a lot smaller, after three of the group's four members recently resigned. Committee chair Stan Markham and committee members Brad Malfair and James Weir stepped down, with at least two of them saying they didn't feel like the committee was really doing that much.
"When I volunteer, I have to enjoy it and feel like I'm making a contribution," said Mr. Markham. Mr Weir could not be reached for comment, but Mr. Malfair gave several reasons for resigning. "I am disappointed with the inaction and lack of communication and direction from council over the past year (and) the fact that the district advertised for six months for a fifth member of the deer committee to volunteer from the apparent majority of citizens wanting something done about the deer and nobody stepped up," he said.
"It seems the people like to complain but are not willing to do anything about it," added Mr. Malfair. Part of the terms of reference in accepting a position on the deer committee was agreeing not to speak with media, he said, but now that he has quit, he said he's now able to address the issues as an individual citizen.
"There has been too much rhetoric, half truths, and misinformation put out by illinformed individuals and groups that has not been adequately addressed or challenged," he said. Invermere mayor Gerry Taft said he agreed with Mr. Malfair that many people are quick to complain about issuses but then do not get involved.
"With a pending lawsuit against the district (by the Invermere Deer Protection Society) there's not much council can do (on the deer issue) right now," said Mr. Taft, adding that the deer committee has done some great work with the deer counts.
The district is hoping to add an opinion poll question about a deer cull to the referendum on the new community centre later this fall, to find out whether or not the public supports the deer cull as an option for managing the urban deer population.
"Some of the members of the committee didn't agree that this was the right course of action," said Mr. Taft. "The problem with any advisory committee is that it is advisory."
"We really appreciate the time and effort people put in in volunteering for advisory committees. But I can understand that it's hard for members of an advisory committee when their recommendations are not accepted or followed," he said. Going forward council will need to look at if it makes sense to continue having an urban deer advisory committee, said Mr. Taft.
"We need to wrap our heads around whether or not there's even enough for a committee to do." he said.
In the meantime the district has no plans to advertise for volunteers to replace the three resigned deer committee members, said Mr. Taft