Join us for the Exhibition Opening of our Photo Contest finalists! Enjoy a hot mug of apple cider and peruse the three categories: Wildlife, Natural Landscapes & Gardens of Victoria.
When? Oct 5 from 1-4pm
Where? 1442 Monterey Ave
Can’t make it? The photos will be displayed until the Awards Ceremony on October 19, or you can view our online gallery at uwss/photo-contest/. Vote for your favourite photo and and even win your own framed Exhibition Piece by casting a bid in our blind ballot.
It’s sure to be a photo finish!
The teams in the orange vests that you’ve been seeing out in the early hours of the morning have now successfully immuno-contracepted (IC) 51 deer, in less than three weeks! We have been finding the deer exactly where the preliminary report said we would, in the areas where there are the highest densities of deer, such as in the Uplands, around the golf courses, and some areas of South Oak Bay.
The field team, led by our wildlife veterinarian Dr. Adam Hering and our lead scientist, Dr. Jason Fisher, have used the same method of sedation that was used when we GPS collared 20 does in spring 2018. The deer are darted with a sedative, blindfolded once sedated, blood and fur samples are taken for the province, and after the necessary work is completed, a reversal drug is given that has the doe back on her feet within minutes.
This time however, while the doe is under sedation, we have also placed matching small tags in each ear, with a lasered number on them. There is also a smaller provincial tag which we’re required to mark the does with.
Along with being numbered, the tags are colour coded in an identification scheme that matches with a simple, coloured collar. These are not GPS collars and have no tags, their purpose is to help our wildlife biologists individually identify each doe both on the camera array spread across Oak Bay, and when we are looking for the does in order to give them an IC booster.
The identification collars fit high on the doe’s neck, and fit more snugly than the GPS collars. This is to minimize the chafing we noticed on some of the deer with the GPS collars. While the chafing is not a problem because the fur grows back in, we are always looking for ways to minimize the discomfort for these animals that we handle for the purposes of this cutting-edge research project.
To that end, we also inject lidocaine in each ear that numbs them for several hours so that the does don’t feel any pain from their colourful new ear piercings!
We expect to soon complete the first round of vaccinations on the does and then 2 – 6 weeks after the initial injection they will require a booster shot to maximize the efficacy of the immuno-contraceptive. The does don’t need to be sedated for the booster shot, so as long as we can re-locate them, the process will go quickly.
For more information on IC, please visit our FAQ page. If you have questions, or see a doe that is having an issue with her collar or ear, please email us at email@example.com.
If you’re out and about in the early hours of the morning in Oak Bay these days, you may spy a cluster of orange vests hard at work. It’s a significant moment for Oak Bay and the UWSS, as once again we’re out in the field – this time to administer an immuno-contraceptive vaccine (IC) to does in the Oak Bay area. Through our field research, we now know there are approximately 100 deer in Oak Bay. We estimate that around 60% – 70% are female, and we are aiming to vaccinate as many of these as we can before the rutting season begins in late October.
The municipality has been very helpful and we have over 500 property owners who have provided us with advance permission to access their property to IC – this will be a big help in streamlining the process! If you would like to complete a permission form, please go to https://www.oakbay.ca/our-community/news-media/spotlight/urban-deer or for more information on IC, please check out our FAQ page at: https://uwss.ca/faq/ .
If you do see our field team in those bright orange vests please give them space, and slow down if you’re in a vehicle so that the deer don’t startle.
And remember our photo contest – we are accepting entries until September 20! https://uwss.ca/photo-contest/
If you’ve seen the poster for our photo contest and you’re wondering why this small, non-profit organization fundraises, well…
Although a portion of the UWSS’s research in Oak Bay and Esquimalt is funded by the province and/or the district, much of our work is dependent on donations and the support of people, like you, in our community.
Fundraising and donations are important elements that allow us to (among many other things):
- Raise public awareness on how to reduce human-deer conflict,
- Provide over 1,500 “Caution Expect Deer” signs and;
- Expand on our cutting-edge research.
One fun way you can get involved is by entering our first ever photo contest! Whether a seasoned shutterbug or new behind the camera, we want to see the natural world through your eyes.
Yes, the UWSS may be currently focused on urban deer, but we are the Urban Wildlife stewardship society and care about all creatures.
This philosophy is personified by our very own lead scientist Dr. Jason Fisher, who was featured in a recent Oak Bay News article on the importance of wildlife corridors that connect protected areas. Jason supervised the research of UVic PhD graduate Frances Stewart as she tracked 10 fishers using biologging technology.
Sound familiar? While the study was based in the Beaver Hills biosphere of Alberta, the fishers apparently share some travelling habits of Oak Bay’s indigenous deer. But the corridors for deer are often busy roads and crossing from one area to another can be treacherous.
Fortunately, if people are driving the speed limit (or slower, in the areas where they expect deer) and scanning ahead, the chances of an accident are greatly reduced. From fishers to deer, let’s keep our wildlife safe!
Debbie Warren, Senior Engineering Project Manager (and resident of Oak Bay) presents $750 each to the Oak Bay Green Committee’s Felicity Bradley and Pamela Mountjoy of the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society on behalf of Coun. Eric Zhelka who won the donation at the AVICC, alongside Mayor Kevin Murdoch. (Courtesy Eric Zhelka)
At the annual conference of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, elected officials from communities within the FortisBC service area were invited to enter a draw for a donation of $1,500 from Fortis BC, to be made to a non-profit group.
Councillor Eric Zhelka from the Oak Bay Municipality was the lucky ballot selected, and he is sharing this donation between the UWSS and the Oak Bay Green Committee. The cheque was presented to the UWSS at the July 22 Oak Bay Council Meeting and was accepted by UWSS Board Member Pamela Mountjoy.
Councillor Zhelka has always supported the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society and the important research that they are conducting in Oak Bay. He says that both the UWSS and the OBGS are “groups of volunteers that do a great deal of unsung work, that, thanks to Fortis BC, we will be able to bring to light”.
The UWSS would very much like to thank Councillor Zhelka and FortisBC for this thoughtful donation that will help substantially with the current Oak Bay research and immuno-contraception project.