Posted: December 3, 2013
Just when the District of Invermere thought it was safe to get down to the brass tacks of town infrastructure and management, with the 2014 budget up for discussion, it must again contend with urban deer.
The Invermere Deer Protection Society (IDPS) filed a notice on Nov. 25 with the BC Court of Appeal regarding the recent judgment in BC Supreme Court to dismiss its petition against the District of Invermere.
“We are appealing the judge’s decision because we believe that a city council’s decision to kill wildlife, such as deer, should be based on reliable scientific evidence. We are disappointed that the judge did not admit some of the evidence that IDPS put forward in that regard,” said Devin Kazakoff, society president.
The District of Invermere passed two resolutions about killing deer in Invermere. It decided to reduce numbers and then maintain an artificially low population of 50 deer, the IDPS noted in a Nov. 28 press release.
“They want to cap the deer population at 50 animals for no scientific reason at all. This number was dreamed up by a committee of citizens who volunteered for the specific purpose of ridding the town of animals considered a nuisance. This is not right,” said Vince Zurbriggen, IDPS vice president.
It is obvious that deer migrating into the town from the surrounding area may negate any reduction in the local population rendering any cull ineffective, the IDPS release suggested.
District of Invermere officials say they are disappointed this issue has returned to the front burner.
“The District of Invermere (DOI) is very disappointed that the Invermere Deer Protection Society (IDPS) continues to waste public resources and time, both those of the DOI and our Provincial Court system. The filing of an appeal is just the most recent example of many unnecessary actions by this group,” said Mayor Gerry Taft.
District voters showed overwhelming support for the district in its efforts to control urban deer population in the town during a Nov. 2 opinion poll where 729 voted in favour and 259 opposed to the deer cull question.
The IDPS believes the opinion poll, piggybacked onto the community hall referendum, doesn’t tell the entire story about how residents feel about culling as a tool to thin the deer population in town.
“An earlier survey clearly indicated how unreliable these ill-conceived opinion gathering exercises are. In that survey that forms the basis of the Invermere culling decision, residents said that “capture and euthanize” was the least preferred “management option.” We are convinced residents are just plain confused about what is meant by culling – that it is a cruel, shameful method of killing deer and further that killing urban deer is an unjustified, simplistic form of management,” the IDPS press release outlined.
“Just because it seems a majority of citizens bought into the biased message that killing is necessary does not mean that majority-rule is a valid method of determining wildlife biology management decisions. The district chose to use an ineffective, in-humane method to appease complainers,” said IDPS director Sue Saunders.
Municipalities must step back and avoid making unscientific, hasty decisions about wildlife management – a subject that by their own admission, they know little, the IDPS continued, adding, wildlife expert Wayne McCrory said this about Invermere: “If the issue is to reduce the numbers and dependency of the mule deer now living in the community then I don’t think the cull is a good long-term social and biological solution. A much more comprehensive understanding and approach is needed that includes a much greater emphasis on a program of non-lethal approaches.”
Taft said the district has done everything it can to take a measured and fair approach to the problem of deer roaming freely through the town.
“The DOI remains confident in our position and stands behind the processes we have followed, which are processes set out by the Provincial Government and their wildlife biologists,” he said, adding the district will continue to look after residents’ tax dollars by fighting to ensure the IDPS bears all court costs.
“We will continue to push for the IDPS to post securities and guarantees of their ability to pay court costs, and we will also be seeking assistance from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities around legal fees. Our goal is to manage and minimize the financial burden a small group of radical individuals, who do not respect the will of the majority of the DOI population, can cause to the taxpayers. We will not be bullied,” Taft told e-KNOW.
Kazakoff said the IDPS continues to support “true science-based wildlife management within municipal boundaries if it is well-funded and long term. The plan must be humane and derived from thorough understanding of wildlife populations. Managers must anticipate and measure the consequences of all management actions. Wildlife science, not public opinion, should form the basis of a municipal wildlife management plan,” he concluded.
For more: http://www.e-know.ca/news/invermere-supports-borrowing-cull/