The ongoing removal or theft of cameras is hampering the deer contraception program in Oak Bay.
Four more of the special wildlife cameras have been reported missing of late, bringing the total to 13 after nine were reported missing in early December.
The cameras are used by the Greater Victoria-based Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society, which is funded by Oak Bay and the province, to monitor the local deer population. The program uses immuno-contraception to stop does which live in Oak Bay from reproducing.
2020 has been a difficult & challenging year for many of us thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this year our #urbandeer management study has seen numerous successes. We couldn't have done it without your support! Thank you @DistrictOakBay https://t.co/HcdRBoxI2O pic.twitter.com/OzyfUgPjZO— UWSS.CA (@DeerPlan) December 22, 2020
There were 39 of the motion-sensor Bushnell wildlife cameras placed around Oak Bay, said program spokesperson Kristy Kilpatrick. They are generally mounted on trees using a cable lock.
“The scale, breadth and timing of the thefts, along with the specific locations chosen, suggests a targeted campaign rather than a series of random acts,” said Kilpatrick.
The cameras are Bushnell model 119876C. They are owned jointly by Oak Bay and the UWSS and are valued at approximately $4,000.
The three-year pilot project is currently at its halfway mark. The photos the cameras collect are processed into data that is critical for the research. It helps the program track the density, movement patterns, population size and habits of Oak Bay deer, Kilpatrick said.
Preliminary results indicate success, as the program inoculated 60 does in the fall of 2019 which reduced the deer birth rate in Oak Bay in 2020.
Oak Bay Police Department is investigating and residents who observed someone remove a tree-mounted camera or who may have security camera footage of it happening are asked to call the police at 250-592-2424.
Anyone who has come across the sale or donation of Bushnell wildlife cameras since December should also contact Oak Bay police.
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