Oak Bay has permission from the province to conduct an experimental attempt at deer population management using birth control, a move that Esquimalt would like to follow. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

Esquimalt considers birth control for its deer population

Esquimalt hopes to follow Oak Bay’s actions in inoculating deer

The Township of Esquimalt is interested in following suit with the District of Oak Bay in pursuing birth control for its deer population.

An upcoming motion put forward by Coun. Ken Armour advocates that the Township seek provincial approval to develop a plan and work with the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS) to create an immuno-contraception strategy to manage and reduce the deer population in Esquimalt.

Wildlife management is the responsibility of the provincial government, which currently only uses culling or translocation to manage deer. The District of Oak Bay’s immuno-contraception approach is being done on a research basis, following several reports of high deer populations and little success with other methods.

In 2015 Oak Bay had permission to try a culling strategy which proved ineffective.

ALSO READ: Study moves Oak Bay closer to contraceptive control for problem deer

“The problem with culling is it’s certainly not considered humane, and not considered effective,” Armour said. “The population will expand, both from more fawns, and more deer moving in to fill the void.”

The province has also used translocation in more rural environments, but this method would not be helpful for an urban deer population.

The District of Oak Bay already has permission to inoculate 80 does with contraceptives this summer, after surveys and reports found the district’s deer population to be between 78 and 128 black tail deer.

ALSO READ: Confrontation with deer sends cyclist to hospital in Oak Bay

Two recent surveys – each costing $18,000– have been conducted by the Township of Esquimalt, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the UWSS, and found that the Township has around 135 deer while the CFB Esquimalt has around 60.

From these surveys it’s been found that 52 per cent of Esquimalt residents have spent money to prevent deer damage to their property, and 13 per cent have encountered aggressive behaviour from deer.

A third survey will be conducted next year to forward to the province to justify another round of immuno-contraception research.

ALSO READ: Oak Bay officers deal with deer impaled on fence

While costs are too early to finalize, Oak Bay has spent $35,000 to fund the research, and the province has funded $35,000 for the inoculations.

Armour said that whichever method ends up being used, it needs to be a region-wide effort to avoid deer populations from simply filling voids in neighbouring areas.

“We want to stop their growth and launch into a gradual reduction,” Armour said. “We will reach out to the province and to neighbouring municipalites and the CRD.”

The motion will come to the next council meeting on March 18. Should it be approved, any inoculation likely wouldn’t happen until 2020.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Township of Esquimalt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Bay students are among the list of SD62 schools that will be trained by Pacific FC coaches and staff in a new soccer academy partnership. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

A Saanich police officer in an unmarked vehicle stopped a driver going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the police department. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver caught going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the Saanich Police Department

Officer in unmarked car issues $483 ticket, week-long vehicle impound

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read