LETTER: Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society is misleading Oak Bay on deer contraception

Jason Fisher, a biologist and member of the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS), admits there isn’t data to compare urban deer populations to deer populations in the wild. He said we can’t prove scientifically that the deer population has increased and claims that there isn’t any data available about deer population in Oak Bay because “none of us have the time frame or the proper temporal scale to make that call.” If pressed, he would have to admit there isn’t any scientific evidence proving the deer contraception plan would work, either.

READ MORE: Oak Bay report shows deer only a problem for a few, says scientist

Instead of providing us with facts and evidence, he and the UWSS want the public to stop thinking about deer population estimates, density of deer and the impending deer birth control experiment we are funding, and get comfortable with the status quo: dead and diseased deer on our streets, traffic and bicycle accidents, attacks on pets and humans, as well as the cost to the residents of Oak Bay in the restriction of flower and vegetable gardens, and the proliferation of expensive fencing that reduces the feeling of community.

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The UWSS has received public money, claiming to conduct scientific research into deer population control. Instead, we are receiving advice to change our minds and attitudes about urban deer, under the guise of quasi-science, and the illusion that we are making progress with the challenges of urban deer. Fisher references First Nations traditional knowledge of deer populations but, perhaps unsurprisingly, does not discuss the use of deer in indigenous diets.

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Oak Bay council has relegated deer management to a group that receives funding to promote their agenda of maintaining the urban deer population. Just as the residents of Sidney Island have implemented deer control, I implore the council to begin legitimate, evidence-based work with the province, federal government and First Nations community to control the urban deer population. It’s irresponsible, and potentially dangerous, to give a special interest group funding and authority to set policy for our community.

Terry Vatrt

Oak Bay

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