There is no doubt that Oak Bay’s plan to kill 25 deer in a “pilot project” that could very well set the stage for how the further killing of deer will be handled across the Capital Regional District has been controversial, dividing communities both in and out of Oak Bay. While Oak Bay made it clear in its Request for Proposal it wanted no footage of the actual clover trap and bolt gun method it is using to kill the deer to be made public, a concerned citizen has come forward with these images that could reasonably be from Oak Bay’s deer cull.
Oak Bay decided to implement the Capital Regional District’s “deer management” strategy by killing 25 deer in their community when an undisclosed number of complaints about deer eating resident’s gardens were received. They were granted the permit by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources without meeting many of the expectations laid out in the Ministry’s own Urban Deer Management Fact Sheet. There has been no public consultation during the decision making process with the location of the traps and when the killing will take place being shrouded in secrecy by Oak Bay’s mayor and council. The cull has been condemned as unscientific, inhumane, and ineffective by animal advocacy organizations DeerSafe Victoria, Animal Alliance of Canada, and the BC SPCA.
Kelly Carson of DeerSafe Victoria commented that although it is not clear if the images sent to them were Oak Bay deer, the timing of the photos and the location where they were taken do fit within the expected time frame of the cull. “Someone sent DeerSafe some disturbing photos that were taken after a visit to the Songhees band office on February 24, 2015. The sender did not know if these deer were from the Oak Bay cull, but was concerned enough to forward them to us.”
Page 7 of the Oak Bay permit states “Heads of adult deer will be saved, appropriately labeled and bagged and transported to Nanaimo Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for Chronic Wasting Disease sampling when possible.”
As can be seen from the time stamp on the photos, they are dated approximately two weeks ago. This is when DeerSafe expected the cull to be at its height and now it appears that these images reveal the truth of their suspicions. However, despite the date stamp the deer heads appear to have no clear indication of sustaining bolt gun trauma. This does not rule out that these deer were from Oak Bay though, as the images do not provide a complete view of the heads.
At best, these images provide a glimpse into the reality of what the Oak Bay deer cull does look like. They portray the truth of where many of Oak Bay’s community deer may have ended up if the Oak Bay cull is, in the minds of its mayor and council, a success.
Last week in Cranbrook B.C., four traps were vandalized by concerned citizens effectively ending the deer cull in that city. There have been numerous culls throughout the Kootenay region over the past several years which have similarly divided communities in Kimberely, Inveremere, and Elkford. Killing of deer in these regions along with the CRD led to the creation of the B.C. Deer Protection Society.
DeerSafe Victoria has been asking citizens of Oak Bay to call them at 250-813-0208 if they see or know the whereabouts of a trap in their neighborhood. DeerSafe has stated it will not tamper with the traps, but only wishes to document the killing of the deer, so that the public may decide for itself if the clover trap/bolt gun method of killing is humane. So far, no traps have been found and with the March 15th deadline looming to signal the end of Oak Bay’s permit to kill, tensions are high.
Neither the mayor of Oak Bay, Nils Jensen, or a Songhees Nation representative responded to a request for comment at the time of posting.
Update: We spoke with Nils Jensen before Tuesdays news release on the end of the deer cull and 11 deer having been killed. He sounded very upset these images had surfaced and his only comment was that whoever took them should be concerned about being charged with trespassing.
Apparently if Oak Bay does everything in secret it is okay, but should someone get images or footage of the killing they are trying to cover up that is illegal.
A further blog post will be up later in response to today’s news. Until then, please listen to the CBC interview below.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195186331″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
The Critical Cat
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