Edna Chadwick on Deer

Edna Chadwick of the Rock City Road neighbourhood sent me these comments on Nanaimo’s deer:

I really don’t feel that deer populations are on the increase, just adapting to a loss of habitat. The deer were all over the roads in the 1980s when there was rampant development in the north end, then when the economy bottomed out in the 1990s and there was no new development, there was not a deer to be seen. With the latest spate of development, they’re all over the road again. I think the deer just need time to adjust to their rapidly decreasing habitat.

I’m not in favour of doing anything to decrease their population. There are theories that suggest that if deer populations are reduced, there’s an effect called compensatory rebound whereby deer will have more offspring until their numbers increase to the same level it was at before. I also haven’t seen any evidence that humans can deal with wildlife wisely. We can’t even cope with our own population control. How should we be expected to deal with wildlife control?

Relocation in my opinion is not an option due to extreme stress for the deer. Survival rates after relocation have been shown to be poor due to a condition called the capture myopathy syndrome caused by a release of lactic acid. Also, deer are very territorial and female relatives live together socially in the same location all their lives. Sterilization I feel would also cause a similar amount of stress. I am however much more in favour of other methods which include:

1) Educating the public so that instead of seeing deer as pests, they see it them a beautiful animals with whom we share our environment, giving out information on planting a deer proof garden, driving slowly in deer habitat, showing the public that humans rather than deer are the problem. I’ve seen a huge increase in Nanaimo’s population in the 22 years I’ve lived here and I’ve not heard a word about a human cull. Also, when we have children all over the roads, we don’t try and get rid of them, we do everything in our power to make them safe.

2) Using large signs and reducing speed limits where deer are known to be on the roads. There must be some data from the pound stating where the majority are killed.

3) I don’t know whether fencing is feasible in certain areas but I think it warrants investigation.

4) Conservation of deer habitat, for example the west side of the Linley valley and crown land District Lot 56.