Friday, October 7, 2016

'They shot them all'

The waters of wildlife management and protection are so muddy even provincial employees and directors don't know where responsibilities lie in decision-making processes. Email them about responsibilities and/or accountability and you will be as confused as they are. Add wildlife as agricultural animals to the confusion, and you see a recipe for disaster.

On Thursday, October 6, 2016 twenty seven deer were gunned down on a deer farm in Vernon, BC. The wildlife veterinarian for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations ordered the killings, saying “As far as the animals are concerned, the case is closed.” Ms Schwantje “who works with a number of government ministries” is a consultant with the Ministry of Agriculture when that ministry has no clear guidelines.

Wildlife as agricultural animals are in a dangerous position while Ministeries shuffle responsibility. The result on October 6 was the mass slaughter of 27 animals by gunfire.

Kate Bouey - Oct 7, 2016 / 9:15 am

An Enderby farmer is blasting the “heavy handedness” of government for shooting dead almost all of the deer on his property, Thursday. A ministry veterinarian confirmed the action.
“It was a circus here,” said Richard Yntema of Valley Wide Meats, who owns Rivers Bend fallow deer farm. “What they did was total cruelty.
“They thought they could use tranquillizer guns, but they got tired and they blasted away. I lost track after 75 rounds were fired."
Yntema said the officials included members of the B.C. Conservation Officers Service and the ministries of Environment and Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.
The farmer admitted he had failed to comply with regulatory issues under the Game Farm Act.
Yntema said he believes the main issue has been old trees falling on fences that allowed some deer to escape onto neighbouring properties.
“Certain ministries allowed my neighbours to shoot them at will. I don't know which ministries,” Yntema said.
He points directly at officials from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources for Thursday's slaughter.
“They ran out of ammunition and then asked the Conservation Officers Service if they could use theirs,” Yntema said.
“It was basically a police lockdown. They harrassed my customers and put a checkpoint on my driveway.
“They drove over my crops, damaged fences and some pipes. I'm told I can file a claim for compensation, but I have no idea who to talk to.”
A B.C. government wildlife veterinarian confirmed that 27 deer were shot by officials yesterday while two females were successfully removed alive.
"This farmer used to have a permit under the Game Farm Act for holding fallow deer but ownership has reverted under the Wildlife Act," said Helen Schwantje, who works with a number of government ministries. "Conservation officers were mandated to enforce the act and went in with a warrant."
Biologists and officials from Ministry of Agriculture were also present with the job of removing the deer, Schwantje said.
“Our concern was that these animals would escape and set up a population in the area and damage the habitat. We wanted to make sure we dealt with it before it got any worse.”
Schwantje said capturing any deer is an “incredible challenge” and fallow deer are extremely skittish.
While the goal had been to capture the animals alive with anesthetic darts, only two females were successfully tranquilized and removed while 27 others were shot dead, she confirmed.
“There was no way to herd them safely onto a trailer. We were really stuck.”
The farmer had been given opportunities to remove the animals to a licenced establishment, Schwantje said.
“Unfortunately this man has not been in compliance” with the regulations, she said, adding that the deer had been allowed to escape and there had been complaints from neighbours and some habitat damage.
As far as the animals are concerned, the case is closed, said Schwantje.
She said any charges against the farmer would come from the Ministry of Agriculture or the Conservation Officers Service.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Leading Survey from Oak Bay

Oak Bay conducted a Satisfaction and Priorities telephone survey of 400 residents recently, followed up by an online survey, now available until October 21, 2016.

Buried in the online Satifaction and Priorities Survey's many questions regarding parking and recreational opportunities are one to three questions concerning urban deer.  Answering “no” to the question “Do you feel there is an overpopulation of deer in the District of Oak Bay?” will take you to questions concerned with other topics.  

Answering “yes” will bring up this window:

Answer “strongly support” (or possibly any other multiple choice answer; our researcher did not attempt other answers) and you will receive this window:

In contrast, volunteers began delivery of a Deer Activity survey on October 1, 2016 to 1,100 households for the city of Esquimalt. Developed by an independent consultant, the 24 question survey “will help determine the extent of deer activity in the community, and residents' perceptions and attitudes regarding deer.”

The Esquimalt survey may be returned via postage-paid envelope, or online using a unique number on each paper version delivered to households, ensuring that the survey may only be taken once, and only by Esquimalt residents.

Results are scheduled to be presented to council at their December 12, 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting.