Oak Bay to inject urban deer with contraceptive serum

Oak Bay is planning to put its deer on birth control in order to control the booming population of urban ungulates.

'If we can show that this works, it can be used in other communities,' says Mayor Nils Jensen

The Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society plans to use birth control to reduce Oak Bay's deer population instead of culling the booming urban population. (JL1967/Flickr)

The Victoria suburb of Oak Bay is planning to put its deer on birth control in order to control its booming population of urban ungulates.

In recent years the urban deer has become a nuisance and hazard in many parts of Greater Victoria. In Oak Bay alone dozens are killed by vehicles each year and some have even attacked dogs and people.

The community has tried a cull to control its booming deer population in the past. In February 2015, 11 deer were killed as part of the Capital Regional District's deer management pilot project.

But that raised concerns from the B.C. SPCA and other animal rights groups who demanded a non-lethal solution be tried.

That led the municipality to partner with a local stewardship group on a plan to trap and inject female deer with a serum called an immunocontraceptive, which creates antibodies to prevent pregnancy.    

"There are no more fawns born so that helps to reduce the levels and it stabilizes the population really quickly," said Steve Huxter with the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society.

Mayor Nils Jensen said the council agreed Monday to ask the province to contribute $20,000 in matching funds to help pay for the plan.

"It is of provincial benefit. If we can show that this works, it can be used in other communities,"  said Jensen.

An earlier council report said the the society's goal would be to capture 25 to 50 deer for program.

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