The City of Cranbrook will be lobbying the provincial government to manage the town’s urban deer population. Barry Coulter photo.

The City of Cranbrook will be lobbying the provincial government to manage the town’s urban deer population. Barry Coulter photo.

City to lobby provincial government for urban deer population management

Wildlife biologists pen letter to council raising concerns over Chronic Wasting Disease in urban deer

Cranbrook city council will be lobbying the provincial government to step in and manage the city’s urban deer population amid concerns over the spread of an animal disease that has been detected in northwest areas of the U.S.

Wildlife officials penned a letter to council expressing concerns over the potential spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in local deer, a disease specific to ungulates — such as mule and whitetail deer, elk, moose and caribou — that affects the animal’s neurology and results in emaciation, abnormal behaviour, loss of bodily functions and death.

Chronic Wasting Disease is caused by a prion that can survive in the environment for many years and be transmitted through saliva, urine, feces, carcasses and even plants and soil. There is no direct evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans and there have been no cases of it in humans.

A cluster of cases were identified last year in an urban deer herd in Libby, Montana, according to the same letter, which was signed by a wildlife biologist, a wildlife veterinarian and a public health veterinarian with the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The letter recommends reducing the density of urban deer in the centre of Cranbrook by ‘lethal removal.’

For the last few years, council has maintained that managing the urban deer population is the responsibility of the province and not individual municipalities.

“With Chronic Wasting [Disease], we can really put it to the province,” said Coun. Wes Graham, during a council meeting on Monday night. “I am not interested in going through any kind of a cull procedure, going through any kind of a thing like that to deal with these deer of the province. It’s time to say, ‘Well, if you’re worried about Chronic Wasting [Disease], then come in and manage your deer.’

“This is not our problem.”

The City of Cranbrook has conducted a number of culls over the last decade to manage the urban deer population, however, results have varied, while other factors, such as clover trap vandalism, have hampered those efforts.

Over that time, the City has spent over $100,000 to remove 150 deer, according to a city report.

“Staff is of the opinion that the City is no longer in a position to be able to safely manage the urban deer population,” reads the report. In addition, administration will no longer recommend the use of clover traps, due to high operational costs with minimal impact in removing deer where there are a high number of aggression complaints.

The city has not, and will not, be applying for a wildlife permit for the fall or winter months, according to staff.

Urban deer culls have been a polarizing issue over the years, as protesters have demonstrated outside city hall numerous times, favouring increased public education and non-lethal methods such as translocation.

Over that same time, city council has maintained that culls are necessary for public safety, in response to aggressive deer complaints.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram could be playing for Colorado when the NHL resumes play. (Rik Fedyck/file)
Cranbrook product Bowen Byram makes NHL debut with Avalanche

Highly touted prospect marks first pro game following World Junior tournament in Alberta

CNOY is a family friendly walk/fundraiser hosted by Canadian Mental Health Association for the Kootenays to help those who are hungry, homeless and hurting. Our goal is to raise at least $20,000 and we need your help! The CNOY is set for Feb. 20.
There’s a place for everyone: Coldest Night of the Year walk is back

CNOY fundraising walk to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger set for Feb. 20

1914
It happened this week in 1914

Jan. 17-23: Items compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Most Read