Urban deer in Oak Bay, 2018
As a candidate for Oak Bay Council, I have been asked for my position on deer management in Oak Bay.
I support the current program in place, first adopted by Oak Bay Council in late 2016, a three-way partnership between Oak Bay municipality, the non-profit Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS) and the Province. The partnership provides cost shared funding from the Province to research and test a non-lethal, evidence and science based method of reducing the urban deer population in Oak Bay. UWSS is running the program and plans to begin vaccinating does this fall to reduce the birth rate, and thereby the deer population, to more sustainable levels.
I would have preferred that this program had taken place before now but Oak Bay Council attempted a cull first and when that did not work, took almost two years to decide what to do next. Given that the municipality and the Province set out a series of criteria and requirements that the UWSS had to meet before the contract was awarded, this fall’s plan will be the Society’s first opportunity to initiate the key phase of the program, immuno-contraception.
Given the extent of funding commitments, consultation, scientific expertise and goodwill already invested in this three-way partnership, the program should be completed. After all, the goal of reducing our urban deer population is what Oak Bay residents expect; for Oak Bay to abruptly abandon this goal and the program now would be irresponsible. Let’s get on with it.
I also think that the municipality can and should do more to provide timely and actionable information for Oak Bay residents who want to reduce the presence of deer in their gardens and to promote public and vehicle safety.