Four photos of deer caught on Sandra Frey’s motion-sensor wildlife cameras in different areas of Oak Bay. The photographer has 39 that she sets up around Oak Bay as part of the Urban Deer Research Project to monitor population numbers and animal behaviour. (Photos courtesy of Urban Wildlife Steward Society)

Oak Bay urban wildlife photographer awarded for cutting edge research

Wildlife society uses motion-sensor cameras to track deer

The photographer who posts 39 wildlife camera traps around Oak Bay for the Urban Deer Research Project has been recognized with a prestigious award for her work.

Sandra Frey, a recent University of Victoria graduate, was given the MITAC award for wildlife camera trapping in the Rocky Mountains as part of her Masters in the School of Environmental Science. Frey has already taken the skill and applied it to Oak Bay, where she posts the camera traps on private and public property to monitor the urban deer.

Frey’s cameras are triggered by motion and heat.

Frey has been part of the Urban Deer Research Project since 2018 when they installed GPS trackers on 20 does and then collared another 60 does in 2019, which were also given the immuno-contraception booster.

READ MORE: Video: On the hunt for Oak Bay’s most wanted

“Cameras are one of the main tools to manage how deer are distributed across Oak Bay and how many there are,” Frey said. “Because Oak Bay wants to manage its deer population, we need to do it with as much robust research as we can.”

The photos add up to a lot of data that needs to be processed. For now, UVic students manually look at each image to see if it’s one of the 80 does that are tagged. In Oak Bay, the camera also records raccoons and barred owls (landing) but has not caught a cougar.

Reducing the detection of non-deer entities in the urban environment requires a lot of finesse, Frey said.

READ ALSO: Deer decked out for colourful contraception campaign

“There’s a lot of cats and pets, even hummingbirds, and it does create a lot of data that we have to go through.”

For her academic research, she used them to look at the entire carnivore community of wolves, bears, coyote, lynx, martens, wolverines, and more. The study looked at wildlife behaviour of two similar landscapes Kananaskis and Willmore Wilderness area, north of Jasper. While the landscapes are the same, Willmore is remote and protected from humans and development without any motorized access. There are only a few hiking trails into the perimeter, whereas Kananaskis Village and the surrounding area is a destination for outdoor recreation.

Frey’s research with Oak Bay is projected to continue for another two years.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New Democratic leader John Horgan during Monday's campaign stop in Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP John Horgan wins Langford-Juan de Fuca

BC Green candidate Gord Baird takes second place early in the polls

(BC Hydro outage map)
UPDATE: Power restored to more than 3,000 Sooke residents

Two polling stations impacted by outage

The mottled sky, the lights coming on at water’s edge and in Victoria West, and the reflections on the building windows make for a scenic sunset photo in Victoria’s Selkirk neighbourhood. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Sunset on the Selkirk in Victoria

Send your photos to editor@vicnews.com for a chance to see them in the paper

Christopher Mauro, right, assistant manager of the Sidney Save-On-Foods, and Nick Luney, youth initiatives director for the Victoria Pride Society, celebrate the success of a pandemic fundraiser for the local Pride Society. (Courtesy Save-On Foods)
Grocery managers across the Island pull together for Queer youth

With Victoria Pride Parade and Festival cancelled, Save-On-Foods staff found a way to raise funds

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read