UWSS Research

Do you remember seeing some of the deer in Oak Bay wearing some radio collars like this one? That was the first part of a two-part study on the population of deer in Oak Bay. The first part of the project was focused on giving an accurate measure of the population of urban deer in Oak Bay. This includes analyzing the movement of deer – do they have large home ranges? Do they wander or are they staying in a relatively small area?

We’re currently in the second phase of this study, assessing the effectiveness of using an immunocontraceptive (IC) vaccine as a non-lethal method of population control. We’ve also swapped out those radio collars and instead we use simple coloured collars with tags to help us keep track of which does were treated with IC. All the deer we have handled have ear tags to help us identify them.

This study is funded by the Province of British Columbia, the Municipality of Oak Bay, and donations from our supporters. Our methods have undergone rigorous review and meet regulations put in place by the Canadian Council on Animal Care and BC Fish and Wildlife. Our project is also endorsed by the BC SPCA.

Have you seen a deer with a collar? We have some FAQs about the collars that you might like to read.

Oak Bay Deer Project

The results are in! As the 2019 Preliminary Report indicates, there are only approx. 100 deer in all of Oak Bay. Interestingly, deer don’t move around very much and have relatively small home range sizes. We’ve also identified some areas of high use in Oak Bay, where the deer like to congregate.

This gives us important information about where immunocontraception is likely to be most effective, and where Oak Bay can target its management efforts to best effect.

Would you like to know the details about the findings in the Preliminary Report that was submitted to the District of Oak Bay and the Province in February 2019? You can access the full report here: UWSS 2019 Progress Report!

Esquimalt Deer Project

The 2019 Report is the second year of a 3 year monitoring project in Esquimalt. The methods used in Esquimalt aren’t as precise as the ones used within Oak Bay, but still allows a baseline monitoring of the deer population within the Township. Interestingly, there was no increase in the number of deer between this year and last year, indicating that deer population numbers are quite stable.

Esquimalt is awaiting results of the immunocontraception program in nighbouring Oak Bay and hopes to target its management efforts to best effect.

Would you like to read more on the Second Annual Report that was submitted to the Township of Esquimalt and the Province in February 2019? You can access the full report here: Esquimalt Deer Survey 2018 Report!