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Posted: January 18, 2016

20 deer culled in Cranbrook

The City of Cranbrook has completed its latest deer cull program in an attempt to reduce the population within city limits, with 20 deer taken.

The city announced this evening its deer population management program that began on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 with the setup and baiting of traps and concluded on January 13, with a total of 20 deer being captured and euthanized.

Mayor Lee Pratt
Mayor Lee Pratt

“I am very pleased with the results of this program to manage and control our urban deer situation,” said Mayor Lee Pratt in a press release distributed at the tail end of this evening’s council meeting (Jan. 18). “I know some people do not agree with our program, but in the interest of the protection of citizens’ property and the safety of our residents it had to be done.”

About 10 BC Deer Protection Society and Animal Alliance of Canada members attended the meeting, holding anti deer cull message placards (some pictured above).

The BC Deer Protection Society Jan. 8 filed a complaint to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) about incidents involving fawns in clover traps during the recent culling activity in Cranbrook.

The Wildlife Permit was issued to the City of Cranbrook on October 19, 2015 by the MFLNRO and was valid from December 1, 2015 expiring on January 31.

All of the deer euthanized were processed and 855 pounds of meat has been distributed to three local organizations to be used for human consumption. This process was clearly identified in the guidelines embedded in the Wildlife Permit provided by MFLNRO. All meat preparation was conducted by a qualified butcher and processed in a facility inspected and approved by both Interior Health and MFLNRO, the city reported.

The specific areas of the city targeted were based on complaints received by city staff from the public in 2015 along with the results of the urban deer population count conducted on November 7, 2015. The results were 137 deer – the highest number of deer counted since this program began in 2010. The locations of the traps were determined by city staff based on this information along with complaints received by the provincial toll-free Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line and specific priority areas identified by the Conservation Officer Service.

The program was completed under the $15,000 budget at $10,374, or $494 per animal. Built into the cost includes: placement and tear down of each clover trap, purchase of bait and supplies, liability insurance, provincially mandated equipment training, mileage, vehicle cleaning; processing, packaging and distribution of the meat and all associated contractor administration costs, the city news release outlined.

The City of Cranbrook remains committed to the urban deer translocation trial set to begin in February. Council understands the value of the trial and contributed $10,000 to the project last fall and has been asking the province for several years for additional tools to deal with urban deer.

“The recent population management program was approved and organized before we knew exactly when the translocation trial was going to begin,” explained Mayor Pratt, who was absent from this evening’s meeting, recuperating at home from an illness. “We have direction from our residents to try to deal with our urban deer population. The current method used to manage deer populations is the only way we are authorized to do that, which is dictated by the Wildlife Act and enforced by MFLNRO. It is very important for the public to recognize that this upcoming translocation trial is only a test and was never intended to move a large number of animals from each municipality involved and large numbers of urban deer will still remain in Cranbrook.”

The City of Cranbrook extends its thanks to the District of Elkford, the City of Kimberley, the District of Invermere, VAST Resource Solutions, MFLNRO staff and all of the granting groups and supporting agencies for coming together for the translocation trial and who have remained unwaveringly supportive and involved – and who have not threatened to pull their support. The city is very interested to see the end results of this trial, the press release concluded.

As for the protest at city hall, those in attendance were civil and quiet throughout the proceedings.

Acting Mayor Wesly Graham asked some to halt waving their placards during the meeting as he found it “distracting.

“We definitely get the message,” he said.

Coun. Isaac Hockley thanked them for attending the meeting “for something they believe.”

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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