Oak Bay plans to pitch for a share of the $100,000 in provincial funding to deal with urban deer.
The province announced the 2017-18 Provincial Urban Deer Cost-share Program yesterday. Funds are available to local governments and First Nations communities to help fund urban deer management projects.
Oak Bay received similar funding in the spring as it embarked on a project with the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society for a local project. Oak Bay was awarded $20,000 for the plan to count, document travel and eventually inoculate local female deer with immunocontraceptives.
“The put aside $20,000 for each applicant, that’s the maximum they allow, that’s certainly what we would be asking for,” said project manager Steve Huxter of the latest round of funding.
Currently 39 cameras document the deer in the community as part of the approach to determining the ungulate population as phase one of Deer Plan Oak Bay. They’re about halfway through the three months of data required before they send the data to a statistician to sort and tabulate to come up with density numbers. Deer remain the top photographed animal in Oak Bay though rats and cats and raccoons do make appearances in the motion-activated images.
While UWSS ordered collars in March, they still await approval from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to trap and collar deer in Oak Bay, Huxter said. The plan is to capture and collar 10 does and 10 bucks to learn travel patterns and behaviour.
“We can’t do anything until we have what’s called an animal care form,” he said. “it’s been with them for a while now.”
Funding would cover some of the first phase and second phase, Huxter says. The second phase encompasses inoculation and tabulation of data and application of the contraceptive. UWSS hopes to have its scientists develop a multi-year contraceptive vaccine, or would use the existing annual contraceptive. Due to Health Canada regulations that requires capturing and tagging any does dosed with a contraceptive.
UWSS will work with municipal staff to prepare the paperwork to put before council, which would need to approve any application.
“Because there’s such a heavy research components to this … we’ll write up the actually application form and submit it to Oak Bay and they’ll be the ones to submit it,” Huxter said.
The funding application deadline is Nov. 17.
Eligible proposals will be evaluated by members of the Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee and successful proponents will be advised of the results in December. The Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee includes representatives from the Province, local governments, the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
According to the province, there are about 135,000 mule deer, 128,000 black-tail deer and more than 100,000 white-tail deer in B.C.
Oak Bay offers an abundance of vegetation and no natural predators contributing to a perceived rise of the black-tailed deer population. Since 2012, deer mortalities within Oak Bay have averaged at 35 to 45 per year.