Deer overpopulation is a problem that has been brewing for decades in the Capital Region.
For most of those years, we have, as predominantly urban-dwelling individuals and families, thrilled at opportunities to see nature up close and personal.
In recent years, however, that wonder has turned to anger, as deer find their way into gardens and gnaw away at flowers and other vegetation delicacies lovingly and painstakingly cultivated by homeowners.
Outraged residents argue to local politicians, animal control staffers and the provincial Ministry of Environment that something has to be done. But the ministry claims it has no money to take action on the problem.
So whose problem is it, anyway? Is it the fault of the underfunded MoE, which is charged with managing wildlife in urban, rural and remote areas? Or the Capital Regional District animal control specialists, whose main function to this point has been managing the dog and cat populations?
We must come to grips with the fact there are unintended consequences of keeping natural predators of deer – mainly cougars – away from urban environs. People are safer, of course, but deer have been left to breed largely unchecked for years.
The province clearly has no appetite to organize a cull or relocate deer families living here or any other urban area in B.C. Essentially it falls upon residents to take action, but not by arming themselves with various forms of weaponry.
As representatives of the region, the CRD board needs to listen closely to the electorate to see if it’s an important enough issue to spend money on. If so, a committee could consult with say, a conservation officer to come up with a localized business plan for the professional and humane reduction of deer population. The plan would then be presented to the Ministry of Environment for approval.
Sure, there will be outrage from animal lovers. But remember, if society is going to tolerate unnatural wildlife imbalances in urban areas, residents may have to stomach a cull.