Four photos of deer caught on Sandra Frey’s motion-sensor wildlife cameras in different areas of Oak Bay. The photographer has 39 that she sets up around Oak Bay as part of the Urban Deer Research Project to monitor population numbers and animal behaviour. (Photos courtesy of Urban Wildlife Steward Society)

Oak Bay urban wildlife photographer awarded for cutting edge research

Wildlife society uses motion-sensor cameras to track deer

The photographer who posts 39 wildlife camera traps around Oak Bay for the Urban Deer Research Project has been recognized with a prestigious award for her work.

Sandra Frey, a recent University of Victoria graduate, was given the MITAC award for wildlife camera trapping in the Rocky Mountains as part of her Masters in the School of Environmental Science. Frey has already taken the skill and applied it to Oak Bay, where she posts the camera traps on private and public property to monitor the urban deer.

Frey’s cameras are triggered by motion and heat.

Frey has been part of the Urban Deer Research Project since 2018 when they installed GPS trackers on 20 does and then collared another 60 does in 2019, which were also given the immuno-contraception booster.

READ MORE: Video: On the hunt for Oak Bay’s most wanted

“Cameras are one of the main tools to manage how deer are distributed across Oak Bay and how many there are,” Frey said. “Because Oak Bay wants to manage its deer population, we need to do it with as much robust research as we can.”

The photos add up to a lot of data that needs to be processed. For now, UVic students manually look at each image to see if it’s one of the 80 does that are tagged. In Oak Bay, the camera also records raccoons and barred owls (landing) but has not caught a cougar.

Reducing the detection of non-deer entities in the urban environment requires a lot of finesse, Frey said.

READ ALSO: Deer decked out for colourful contraception campaign

“There’s a lot of cats and pets, even hummingbirds, and it does create a lot of data that we have to go through.”

For her academic research, she used them to look at the entire carnivore community of wolves, bears, coyote, lynx, martens, wolverines, and more. The study looked at wildlife behaviour of two similar landscapes Kananaskis and Willmore Wilderness area, north of Jasper. While the landscapes are the same, Willmore is remote and protected from humans and development without any motorized access. There are only a few hiking trails into the perimeter, whereas Kananaskis Village and the surrounding area is a destination for outdoor recreation.

Frey’s research with Oak Bay is projected to continue for another two years.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

COVID-19: Saanich company joins nation-wide effort to produce 30,000 ventilators

StarFish Medical using a ‘purpose-driven design for rapid manufacturing,’ CEO says

Judge rejects pandemic as reason to grant bail to immunocompromised prisoner

Esquimalt man told there are more health risks for addicts on the street than there are in jail

Sidney senior welcomes outreach phone calls from charity

A long-time user of Sidney’s SHOAL Centre, praises Beacon Community Services

Canoe found in men’s public bathroom in Cadboro-Gyro Park

‘Please do not park your canoe in our bathrooms,’ say Saanich parks staff

Investigators seek witnesses in death of Langford woman Angela Dalman

Police seek out dash cam footage, home security videos and neighbourhood witnesses

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Thieves steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes and candy from semi trailer in Nanaimo

Culprits hit truckload in shipping company storage yard on Old Victoria Road on Monday

Most Read