Alina Fisher, BSc MA (Comms) PMP, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Victoria, was the most recent recipient of the Dr. Ian and Joyce McTaggart Cowan Scholarship in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Alina has an extensive background in wildlife biology, ecology, and science communication, coupled with an incredible sense of compassion and empathy for wildlife, urban and otherwise.
The UWSS is so fortunate to have Alina working with us. She has guided our public education and communications with a compassionate, measured, and even hand; always listening to and respecting multiple perspectives. We are excited for Alina as she pursues her Ph.D., and are grateful for her expertise. She has been instrumental in helping communities have a better understanding of the role, and need, for urban wildlife.
A series of thefts of vital research equipment in Oak Bay threatens the ground-breaking urban deer management project. Since early December, 13 specialized wildlife cameras out of the 39 associated with the project have been stolen from locations around the municipality. The cameras play an important role in the project that is aimed at managing the indigenous urban deer population in Oak Bay by collecting data that attests, over time, to the density, movement patterns, population size and habits of Oak Bay deer.
The three-year initiative, a partnership between the District of Oak Bay and the Greater Victoria-based Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS), is using an immunocontraceptive (IC) to trial the humane and effective reduction of the municipality’s indigenous Columbian black-tailed deer population. It is funded by Oak Bay and the Province of BC’s Provincial Urban Deer Cost-Share Program. The project is currently at the halfway mark.
The immunocontraception approach reduces the number of fawn births each year in a way that does not open up territory for new deer to move in and replace them the way population culls do. If successful, the project will make available a new community-based approach to urban deer management to communities throughout North America. The project is endorsed by the BC SPCA.
Preliminary results indicate that the application of IC to 60 does in the Fall of 2019 has significantly reduced the deer birth rate in Oak Bay in its first year. Data from the cameras is critical to proving, up to scientific research standards, the success of the project.
The 13 cameras, Bushnell Model 119876C [See photo below], are owned jointly by Oak Bay and the UWSS. The 13, stolen mainly from public property, are valued at a total of approximately $4,000. Nine were stolen in the first half of December and another four since then. The scale, breadth and timing of the thefts, along with the specific locations chosen, suggests a targeted campaign rather than a series of random acts.
Oak Bay Police are investigating. Residents who have observed individuals removing tree-mounted cameras from property or associated activity from early December to present, particularly on public property, or who may have security camera footage, are asked to contact OBPD at (250) 592-2424. Anyone who has come across the sale or donation of Bushnell wildlife cameras since December or in the future should also contact Oak Bay Police.
About the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS):
Chief scientist for the project is Dr. Jason Fisher, one of Canada’s leading wildlife ecologists. The project manager is Sandra Frey, MSc, an expert in evaluating the impacts of human-wildlife interactions. Project veterinarian is Dr. Adam Hering.
The UWSS is a non-profit society with the long-term goal of conflict reduction between humans and free-living urban animals through science-based and humane population management through research and education.
Since our last blog post, we successfully completed our second season of immuno-contraception (IC)! Thanks to all of you who engaged in citizen science and helped us with locating the elusive does who needed vaccinating – almost all received their booster meaning that between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020, 120 does were successfully vaccinated!
Thanks as well to our many supporters in the community and beyond—our field team answered many questions, and were even cheered on from balconies as they professionally, efficiently, and compassionately handled the does.
On October 31 we completed our fieldwork for this fall and our permit expired. Since then, the UWSS and Oak Bay applied to the Provincial funding program (PUDAC) for 2021 funding in order to continue collecting and analyzing data, to prepare for report writing (also to be published in peer-reviewed journals), and cover the costs of boosting both 2019 and 2020 does in the Fall of 2021.
We are happy to report that the funding was approved, and we look forward to carrying on this important research project. We know there are many communities and municipalities looking forward to accessing the extensive knowledge of urban deer that we have been collecting and seeing immuno-contraception becoming an operational solution.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join us on Sunday, June 17 for a Father’s Day Garden Party Tour. All proceeds from the event will support the BC SPCA’s Wild ARC and the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS) for local wildlife care, wildlife research and veterinary services.
Eight lovely Oak Bay gardens – featuring a wide variety of styles – English, urban, wild, native, low maintenance, large and expansive, small and cozy.
Afternoon Tea served 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Windsor Pavilion.
Silent Ballot Auction at the pavilion with lots of great prizes – don’t miss out!
UWSS and Wild ARC representatives will be at the pavilion to answer questions and share information.
Alternative plant sale – a selection of drought and deer-resistant plants will be on sale at the pavilion
Master gardeners will be on site to answer plant related questions and share ideas throughout the tour at the pavilion.
Silent Auction includes some fantastic products donated from this list of generous donors;
A Pet’s Life
Bespoke Design Ltd.
Bosley’s Oak Bay
Cedar Hill Golf Club
Cherry Point Estate Wines
Cook’s Day Off
Eagle Wing Whale & Wildlife Tours
GardenWorks Oak Bay
Good Things Consignments
Café & Gelateria
Murchie’s Fine Tea & Coffee
Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Oak Bay Bicycles
Oak Bay Recreation Center
Oaklands Veterinary Hospital
Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen
Padella Kitchen + Wine
The Parkside Spa
Penny Farthing Public House
Prestige Carwash & Auto Detailing
Red Hot Swing Dance
Royal & McPherson Theatre Society
Side Street Studio
Silk Road Tea
Stage Wine Bar
Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Victoria Gin Distillery
Victoria Royals hockey team
Wildwood Outdoor Living Centre at Canor Nursery
In person (cash only) ticket sales at:
Garden Works, 1916 Oak Bay Avenue
Ivy’s Bookstore, 2188 Oak Bay Avenue
Thorn and Thistle Flower Shop, 713 St. Patrick Street