A lot has happened in both Oak Bay and Esquimalt since our last post, and we apologize for not updating our blog sooner – it’s been busy!
On Monday, December 12, Nyberg Wildland Consulting presented to Esquimalt Council on the results of a public survey distributed to Esquimalt residents regarding urban deer in their community. The report was very favourably received by Council, with a number of councilors commenting that it provided them with extremely helpful data.
As a result of the report, Esquimalt Council is now going to explore how best to conduct a deer count, and how to proceed with public education. The UWSS looks forward to supporting Esquimalt with these initiatives and have indicated we are hopeful that we will be able to help with their planning.
A big thank you to our volunteers who helped deliver the 1,100 questionnaires to the Esquimalt community! Through your efforts, 47% of those who received the survey responded. This is an exceptionally high return rate!
At a meeting of Oak Bay Council in November, Councilor Tara Ney presented a motion to Oak Bay Council: “That Council apply to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for a matching grant of up to $20,000 to implement a deer management strategy substantially in the form of the program and application prepared by the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society.”
The motion was seconded by Councilor Eric Zhelka, and passed 6-1. With a very tight timeline to form the application, we submitted the 15 page document to Oak bay which was then forwarded to PUDOC, the administrators of the cost-share program.
The application is divided into two phases.
Phase 1 addresses the ecology of deer. Before deer reduction can occur, we need to do a deer count to establish a baseline of population numbers. An accurate modelling of the deer inventory would also include determining roaming patterns. This will involve radio collaring and the GPS tracking of approximately 10 deer.
Phase 1 also includes further developing a partnership with a supplier for the immuno-contraceptive vaccine.
We will post our revised application to the province as soon as it has been approved.
Phase 2 involves the vaccination of does with the immune-contraceptive to prevent fertility. More information will be available on this process after the Phase 1, research component has been completed. This phase of the project will take place in late spring or early summer of 2017.
There have been headlines and reports in the media that the funding was rejected by the province, however that’s not accurate. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has indicated that the application is still being considered and are holding back the funding approval until the UWSS can provide more information on some aspects of the application. Our Science Advisory Group is currently in discussions with the province to re-profile the funding application to address those questions and concerns that resulted from the application.
Oak Bay will be re-submitting the proposal to the province in early January, and we are confident that we will be able to move forward with phase 1 of our application shortly thereafter.
We are pleased to be a co-operative partner with the District of Oak Bay in this exciting initiative!