It’s an exciting time in Oak Bay as the district is about to launch the deer contraception initiative it’s been working toward for years.
And to do it, they need the help of the public.
This week Oak Bay launched a property registration website where home and landowners offer the contractors of the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society access to the property. It’s a crucial step in the ongoing deer contraception initiative, said Mayor Kevin Murdoch.
“Without access to the properties the contractors can’t get to the deer,” Murdoch said. “To ensure UWSS can reach and dart all the deer possible, they need access to yards.”
Deer searching will happen during daylight hours of about 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. between September and October. It will be on public as well as private land in Oak Bay.
Once a female deer is located, the wildlife veterinarian will sedate the deer and administer the vaccination, explains the Oak Bay public notice.
“This is a humane process, there’s no traps,” Murdoch said. “They sedate the deer, inoculate them with contraception, and the deer go from there.”
Oak Bay has been partnering with UWSS who will oversee the application of immune-contraceptives to female deer. The season to do so is likely to be late September. And while the immune-contraception plan has been years in the making, it’s been a fast uptake since the site launched, Murdoch said.
“We need to cast as wide a net as possible,” Murdoch said. “Think about what will happen if the contractor enters one yard but the deer jumps into the neighbour’s yard, they need that access.”
Registration is confidential and protected by the Freedom of Information and Privacy laws, which is partly why the process has taken so long.
And because it’s taken so long, Murdoch and the Oak Bay council are now working with the province and neighbouring municipalities to expedite the program and make it available for the region. This is for obvious reasons as the deer population will eventually replenish itself in Oak Bay until the neighbouring communities do something similar.
Council voted unanimously on Monday night to authorize Murdoch as an advocate to the province, “in partnership with other local municipalities,” to accelerate the “immune-contraception approach to deer management on a regional basis.”
“It’s a long scientific process and we want more municipalities to participate without going through the multi-year process that we have,” Murdoch said. “We want to come up with a unified voice for the region, a model where the municipalities can participate in a shared approach.”
To register your Oak Bay property to provide access to the contractors inoculating the deer with contraceptives, visit oakbay.ca/our-community/pets-animals/deer.