PIRJO RAITS: Time to restore wildlife balance

It appears we have a problem with urban deer, urban rabbits and urban geese.

Well, actually they are rural animals forced into an urban environment. They adjust to their shrinking habitat and we have only ourselves to blame. With our rush to develop vast tracts of rural land, we displace these creatures and then complain that they have become a nuisance. They just keep on in the natural order of things. Their trails are ingrained in their genetic memory and they just keep on going where they’ve always gone. They eat everything, they leave their droppings behind and they do as they please.

Food is whatever they can graze on and the well-tended shrubs, bulbs, plants and bushes in our gardens are ripe for the feasting. You can’t blame the animals, they just cruise along nibbling at whatever tastes good.

Should we have a deer cull? Yes, we should. We should also follow that up with a cull of rabbits and geese. Each of these animals is a traditional food source and, fed right, they are very tasty.

They could feed a lot of people who may not be able to afford good, wholesome meat.

Europeans laugh when they see how sentimental we are. We should be laughing at ourselves for importing meat from other countries when we have our own food source in most of our backyards.

Even in orderly Oak Bay, deer are spotted resting among the foliage, or eating it. In the interior of the province many people gear up each fall for a shot at a moose or a deer.

Hunting is honest and it’s real and people depend on it to feed themselves during the winter months.

Most hunters will go for a clean kill and would never allow an animal to suffer. True, it would be harder here as we have neighbours to think about, but where there is a will, we know there is a way.

This is not being cruel, it is actually doing Mother Nature’s job, as these creatures do not have any natural predators. We took care of that when we decided cougars, coyotes and bears needed to be shot when they became a nuisance. We are the ones disturbing the natural order of things.

With each new arrival of another cute fawn, gosling or bunny we are allowing the weakest of the species to survive. In nature they would be culled by natural selection. If they can’t run fast enough or fly quick enough they become another’s dinner.

Perhaps it’s time we gave serious thought to how we are allowing cute and cuddly to replace common sense. Animals do not have human emotions or reactions. It is humans trying to put our spin on the way they act and react.

If these animals were considered ugly or undesirable like bugs, snakes, rats and creepy crawly things, we probably wouldn’t hesitate to dispatch them. If these “uglier” species were allowed to overrun our environment, we would likely do something about it rather quickly.

It isn’t the animals themselves, but the over-abundance that causes problems. Each creature has its place in the natural order of things and it is humans who have upset that balance.

It has to be humans who try to restore it.

Pirjo Raits is the editor of the Sooke News Mirror.

editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Just Posted

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read