OpEd: Deer a complex issue in Oak Bay

Nils Jensen is mayor of Oak Bay

Addressing the complex issues associated with deer in our neighbourhoods remains a priority for the District of Oak Bay and for many of our residents. We continue to work on a responsible and effective long-term response with the community. We are making progress.

Oak Bay Council has been taking an active leadership role in addressing the challenges of deer in our neighbourhoods in partnership with the Province and the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS). The UWSS is a citizen-led group that works with experts in the field to focus on a scientific and evidence-based approach to deer population management.

In 2016, Oak Bay Council signed onto the provincial urban deer cost-share research program with the UWSS. This program has been unfolding across our community over the past 18 months and consists of public education, data collection and analysis with the goal of better understanding population numbers, deer ecology and movement of the deer population.

To date, 20 does have been GPS collared and tagged in cooperation with wildlife veterinarians. Beyond this foundational work, administration of an immuno-contraceptive to the doe population without GPS collars is planned for this fall. Once the research phase of the project is further advanced, more does will be vaccinated based on the research findings. Over time, immuno- contraception is projected to slow population growth and the data collected will provide important insight about the population of deer that we are striving to reduce.

Council remains committed to providing leadership that strikes an important balance between residents’ quality of life and an effective method of deer population control that is publicly- acceptable, affordable and effective over the longer term. The work of the UWSS and associated experts is building an important foundation of science-based knowledge to guide Council’s decision-making.

The UWSS will be presenting an update to Council on September 17th at a regularly scheduled meeting. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting or view the presentation on the District’s webcast. Learn more about how we are continuing to move forward with deer population management in an informed, research based and responsible manner.

Nils Jensen is the mayor of Oak Bay.

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