Our View: Finger-pointing on deer pointless

Deer overpopulation is a problem that has been brewing for decades in the Capital Region.

Deer overpopulation is a problem that has been brewing for decades in the Capital Region.

For most of those years, urban-dwelling individuals and families were thrilled to see nature up close and personal.

In recent years, however, that wonder has turned to anger, as deer find their way into gardens and gnaw away at flowers and other vegetation delicacies painstakingly cultivated by homeowners.

Outraged residents argue to local politicians, animal control staffers and the provincial Ministry of Environment that something has to be done. But the ministry claims it has no money to take action on the problem.

So whose problem is it, anyway? Is it the fault of the MoE, which is charged with managing wildlife in urban, rural and remote areas? Or the Capital Regional District animal control specialists, whose main function to this point has been managing the dog and cat populations?

We must come to grips with the fact that there are unintended consequences of keeping natural predators — mainly cougars — out of urban areas. People are safer, of course, but deer have been left to breed unchecked for years.

The province clearly has no appetite to organize a cull or relocate deer living in urban areas of B.C. Essentially it falls upon residents to take action, but not by arming themselves with various forms of weaponry.

As representatives of the region, the CRD board needs to listen closely to the electorate to see if it’s an important enough issue to spend money on.

If so, a committee could consult with say, conservation officers to come up with a localized business plan for the professional and humane reduction of deer population. The plan would then be presented to the MoE for approval.

Sure, there will be outrage from animal lovers,  but if society is going to tolerate unnatural wildlife imbalances in urban areas, residents may have to stomach a cull.