The Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society is very pleased to have been invited to do a presentation to Oak Bay Council on July 20.

Councillor Eric Zhelka introduced a Notice of Motion in May to invite the UWSS to share the knowledge and expertise of their Board of Directors and Science Advisory Group and explore ways to work together on shared objectives.

The UWSS has provided council with the following update:

• Placed 4 weekly ads in the Oak Bay News in the month of June. In an effort to reduce human-deer conflicts, we have used multiple media channels to provide the public with tips on how to drive safely during fawn season in areas where deer are known to cross and where the largest number of vehicle-deer collisions have occurred in the past;

• We have had “Caution” signs made which have been extremely popular, with demand outstripping our supply. Residents from Victoria and Saanich, as well as Oak Bay, have requested these signs;

• The number of vehicle-deer collisions reported is down – The Oak Bay Chief of Police has informed us that the message seems to be “getting out there” with only 4 reported this year to date;

• We have a website, Facebook page and Twitter account, all of which are being actively followed with a great deal of positive feedback;

•  The BC Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Helen Schwantje, has agreed to provide technical advice to our working group, along with our Scientific Advisory Group, which includes an environmental resource economist and a former director of BC wildlife research;

• The BC SPCA fully endorses both our public education campaign and our contraception program, as do a number of animal rights groups such as DeerSafe, the Deer Protection Society and Animal Alliance.

The UWSS believes that by working co-operatively with Oak Bay Municipality and employing a proven, science-based, cost-effective, non-lethal approach, much of the divisive controversy over deer management in our community will disappear, deer-human conflicts will be reduced, and the deer population will be stabilized and also reduced, with fewer fawns being born each spring. Fewer deer will mean our roads will be safer for all!

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