While I greatly appreciate that the extermination of deer is being reconsidered, the immuno-contraception plan is likely to fail in living up to its promises.
The UWSS claims to be science-based, yet are arbitrarily using this method in Oak Bay by choosing 25 deer – this number is based on the number of doses they can afford, not the science (which says 90 per cent of deer need to have the contraception to be effective.)
Given they don’t know the deer population of Saanich either, yet another arbitrary number will be assigned (also likely based on affordability), and it’s little more than ‘fingers crossed’ that this even has an impact. This is simply not science-based, and the group is teetering on fraudulence on this aspect.
It’s also quite literally ‘animal testing’, with little understanding on the impact on wildlife. (Well, that’s what we get to ‘find out’ after this has been utilized.) There are reports of deformities and other health issues with the use of immuno-contraceptives on deer, and we quite literally have no idea what the long-term effects on their health will be. Approving this method is short-sighted and unscientific.
UWSS does deserve credit for the road signs – this is where we’ll have the most success: changing human behaviour. Acceptance of the presence of deer, and changing our behaviour, will go a long way to peaceful and safe coexistence (which is what we need to be considering – there will always be deer here, no matter how many we shoot or give contraception to). They and other groups also desperately need to address the issue that credible wildlife scientists find to be the primary issue: the feeding of deer. Municipalities have to toughen and enforce ‘no feeding’ bylaws.
If we’re providing them with food, they will remain (and increase in population). Food is often intentional, with people leaving out feed, or careless residents leaving dropped fruit on their yards. Once food sources are eliminated, there is no reason for deer to stick around. It’s really that simple. And this area would be a much better investment of tax dollars.