Thursday, March 12, 2015

No plans for Nanaimo to follow Oak Bay with cull to control deer

Darrel Bellaart, Daily News

There are no immediate plans to cull deer to control Nanaimo herd populations, now that Oak Bay has conducted the first community deer cull in B.C. Eleven deer were killed over 16 days in February, fewer than half the original target of 25, but the mayor declared the cull a success.
Neither Mayor Bill McKay, nor Leon Davis, Nanaimo SPCA shelter manager, see a cull as something needed for Nanaimo, following the trial.
McKay questioned the benefits of a cull that cost the Capital Regional District $150,000, and "all that pain, for only 11" deer.
"I know a lot of people in Nanaimo are really concerned about deer, particularly on roads and in their neighbourhood," said McKay.
"I think if we were going to even consider it in Nanaimo, I would like to see some pretty indepth studies, with the BC SPCA and with Deersafe."
The Oak Bay cull was to reduce vehicle collisions with deer.
In 2012, the number of deer struck by vehicles averaged one a day.
Since then, the numbers have fallen steadily, with 300 deer carcasses collected in 2013, and 260 last year, said Sue Hughes of Coastal Animal Services, the contractor.
Davis said before even considering a cull, a "comprehensive study" is needed.
Conservation Officer Stuart Bates said a cull is "not for me to decide," but said Nanaimo's urban deer population does appear to be dwindling.
"We've seen a little decline in the numbers we get called for - usually old deer or last year's fawns," Bates said.
Part of it may be increased predators, but deer feeding also seems to be down in Nanaimo, "which results in fewer motor vehicle collisions," Bates said.
Seven bucks and four does were trapped and killed in Oak Bay.
"There's nothing been learned from this, and no evidence this will solve the problem," Davis said. "When you trap a deer, they panic."

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