That’s one of the reasons why our research is so important. We want to help the municipalities of Greater Victoria find effective, long-term solutions to co-existing with wildlife right here within their native range. Stay tuned next week for more information.
Our friends at Watch For Wildlife (W4W) have a reminder for all of us now that it’s that time of year again. “That time of year” means rutting time when bucks are looking for romance. Mating season can cause deer to be bolder and less apprehensive of people. And since they’re a bit preoccupied looking for a lovely doe, they may cross roads more carelessly.
Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, and as the days are getting shorter it means drivers are on the roads more often at this time. Coupled with an increased boldness of bucks during the rut, it’s important that drivers take a few steps to reduce the likelihood of collisions, including:
pay extra attention while driving and obey the speed limit, especially where visibility may be reduced, or in areas that you aren’t familiar with the road
scan ahead and look for movement or the reflection of eyes from the side of the road
slow down if you see an animal, even a slight reduction in speed can give an animal enough time to get out of the way
We presented and update on our research to Oak Bay Council on Monday night. If you’d like to know how things are progressing, please watch the recording available from the District of Oak Bay website. Our presentation is the 5th item on the agenda, starting at approximately 13 minutes (you can access the slides by clicking on the Agenda on the right side of the screen).
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
The UWSS was so pleased to have the expertise of Dr. Joanna Burgar on our field team for the first week of the capture and GPS collar phase of the Oak Bay/Provincial/UWSS project! Dr. Burgar specializes in wildlife and restoration ecology. Please read her blog post on tracking urban deer to manage human-wildlife conflicts: It’s all about the bling! Tracking urban deer to manage human-wildlife conflicts.
The capture and collar phase of an innovative new approach to managing urban deer in Oak Bay wrapped up last month having hit all its targets.
Managed by the Victoria-based Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS) and powered by a team of scientists, wildlife veterinarians, biologists, graduate students, animal behaviourists and community volunteers, the project captured, radio-collared and released 20 does within the municipality of Oak Bay Feb. 18–March 23, 2018. It’s the next step towards a UWSS program to start later this year—testing the effectiveness of contraceptives to manage urban deer populations.
The first phase of the program will provide important information on the ecology of urban deer that has not been known before now. An understanding of movement patterns, density, and population size will be developed.
Twenty does were successfully sedated and assessed by an experienced wildlife vet and an expert wildlife biologist and their team. Sedated does were fitted with GPS collars with colour-coded tags for future identification—all weighing less than 1 lb. in total. After being fitted with their collars, a reversal drug was administered and the does were monitored until they were on their feet and stable. Once the doe was sedated, the entire process took no more than half an hour. Five bucks were also ear tagged, but were not fitted with GPS collars.
Images of deer, collared or not, are being collected both through 1) voluntary submissions by Oak Bay residents, and 2) captured by trail cameras throughout Oak Bay that have been placed with homeowners permission. These data will be compiled and analyzed along with the GPS data, to give an accurate “picture” of urban deer population size and space use in the community.
The second phase of the project aims to gradually reduce the population of indigenous Columbian black-tailed deer in Oak Bay to sustainable levels through a science-based, non-lethal approach. A contraceptive vaccine will be administered to female deer, preventing fawn births without creating vacant territory into which other deer can move. If successful, the project will serve as an effective, community-supported template for urban deer management around North America.
The scientific research is required prior to implementing a non-lethal deer reduction program and is funded by the District of Oak Bay and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development through the Provincial Urban Deer Shared Cost Program. The work is being conducted by the UWSS, a volunteer non-profit society of biologists, animal specialists, educators, and professionals.
The UWSS would like to thank homeowners, Oak Bay Council, our team of volunteers, and the Oak Bay community for their support. Please watch for information on our upcoming Garden Tour on June 17!
To find out more, and to submit citizen science photos of the deer you see around Oak Bay, please visit uwss.ca.