Pilot project to control deer births proposed in Esquimalt

The Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS) believes it has the solution to deal with the region’s thriving deer problem — birth control.

  • Oct. 13, 2015 5:00 a.m.

— Pamela Roth

The Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS) believes it has the solution to deal with the region’s thriving deer problem — birth control.

Speaking at an Esquimalt council meeting Monday night, society president and retired biologist Bryan Gates proposed a pilot project that would trap female deer, then inject them with SpayVac — a contraceptive vaccine that’s proven effective in deer and can be used to control populations.

Gates has no idea how many deer are living in Esquimalt, but said the problem stems throughout Greater Victoria. Deer started showing up in communities about 10 years ago, found food and had no predators so they stayed. Now, the females have established themselves.

“The females particularly, once they come and find a spot, they tend to stay in that spot. They don’t move any more than two, three or four blocks,” said Gates, adding the bucks will wander around together after fawning season in early June.

When those fawns are born, they grow up and have fawns within a reasonable distance of where they were born.

“We know the SpayVac can and does work and can reduce the number of fawns born each year. Eventually if you treat enough, it causes the populations to decline.”

UWSS, launched in April, is comprised of deer scientists, educators and managers with extensive senior public service experience. The group has already approached Oak Bay with their project and has been contacted by other jurisdictions, including Esquimalt.

Last February, Oak Bay faced major criticism over the cull of 11 deer as part of a $250,000 Capital Regional District pilot program for deer management. Members of the society wanted to offer alternatives other than killing the animals.

“There were a lot of people that were very upset and a number of people who were very delighted with it of course because they don’t want the deer eating their garden,” said Gates. “We formed to say, can we do it a different way? We know that SpayVac was available and we thought we can try it and see what happens.”

The society is currently waiting on permits from the federal and provincial government to begin the pilot project. Gates said the province requires an inventory of deer first. The deer would be trapped and given numbered ear tags to help with monitoring.

Council asked staff to bring back a report of what a pilot project might look like in Esquimalt.

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: West Shore RCMP reunite camera with owner

Police sought public’s help to identify people photographed on the camera with record-time results

Beware of geese: Nesting season may trigger aggressive behaviour

Greater Victoria residents will have to be wary of nesting geese in the area

Greater Victoria leaders coming together to talk diversity and equity

Royal Road University’s Inclusion Project engages community stakeholders from public, private sectors

Royal B.C. Museum faces space, seismic standards and accessibilty issues; calls for public input

People can share their ideas online and in person from April 1 to June 27

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Howard the giant gnome finds new home on Vancouver Island

Iconic attraction will move from Nanoose Bay to Galey Farms in Saanich

Harbour Air to convert to all-electric seaplanes

Seaplane company to modify fleet with a 750-horsepower electric motor

Sailings cancelled after BC Ferries boat hits Langdale terminal

The Queen of Surrey is stuck on the dock, causing delays to Horseshoe Bay trips

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Most Read