British Columbia

B.C. government distributing $100K for urban deer management programs

The B.C. government is accepting applications for a $100,000 fund to help reduce human-deer conflicts in urban areas in the province.

The program is meant for areas where deer can't be hunted, and funds must be matched locally.

Deer may seem serene a gentle, but they are the cause of many human-wildlife conflicts in B.C. (CBC)

Deer may have a gentle and serene reputation, but the reality in some communities in British Columbia is quite different.

According to the chair of the Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee, the creatures are behind plenty of frightening incidents.

"Oh yes, deer are a safety concern," said Penny Lloyd. "People have been chased by deer or injured by deer."

Lloyd, whose committee oversees a $100,000 fund to help manage urban deer, said people's pets have also fallen victim to deer attacks, and they can attract predators like cougars into populated areas, posing a further risk to humans.

The committee is now accepting applications for funds, which must be matched by a local partner — usually a municipality or First Nation.

CBC News analysis done last year found deer were behind the second highest number of phone calls to conservation officers to report threatening wildlife in a two-year span between 2016-2018. The conservation officer's service received 406 calls about aggressive deer during that time. 

Repeat programs

The $100,000 fund isn't new — Lloyd said that in previous years, communities like Kimberley, Invermere, Cranbrook and Oak Bay have been repeat recipients.

She said the funding can go to operational projects, like adding fencing and cattle guards to restrict deer movement, or culling programs using bolt guns to kill captured deer. Then, there are research projects, like hazing, immunocontraception, and translocation.

Lloyd said of the strategies that have been tried in the past, translocation — or relocating deer to other areas — is the one that has become concerning, given then fear of spreading chronic wasting disease.

She said the committee has never managed to distribute all of the available money, though programs increase each year. Last year, $73,000 went out to various programs.

Applications will be accepted until the end of October.

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