The city endorsed a local wildlife biologist’s application to secure provincial funding in order to finalize a detailed report on the impacts of transolcating urban deer back into the wild.
Ian Adams, who headed up a translocation study of deer in partership between Cranbrook, Kimberley, Invermere and Elkford, is hoping to ask the province for $22,848, but needed the city’s endorsement to advance his application.
The funding will allow biologists to complete a full scientific report on comparisons between the translocated urban mule deer and non-urban mule deer. Data on non-urban mule deer is currently being collected in a separate project by biologists with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“The translocation was seen as an opportunity to do some non-lethal alternatives,” said Adams. “A lot of conservation groups were in favour. They asked some valid question of, if mule deer are not doing well outside of towns, why are we killing them inside of towns?
“…This [report] just allows us a bit better, more detailed analysis on how did it work and how did it go?”
The report is being prepared by Chloe Wright, a PhD student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, along with Dr. Adam Ford, a faculty member, and Adams, who is providing summary tables.
Data tables will include a breakdown of age-class and sex of the deer, mortality numbers and cause of death, movement of the deer, summary of post-translocation conflicts and recommendations and conclusions from the translocation trial.
Outcomes from data collected should be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal as well as provide guidance to the B.C. government on the considerations of translocation as a deer management option.
City council will debate the request on Monday evening’s council meeting. If Adams is successful, the city will receive five per cent of the grant ($1,088) to cover administration costs.
The translocation trial, which began two years ago, removed 85 urban mule deer from four East Kootenay communities to nearby regional winter ranges. Of those 85 deer, 47 were fitted with GPS collars to track their movements, mortality rates and transmit data back to biologists.
At the same time, FLNROD biologists were also conducting a study on the movements of non-urban mule deer, which provides a useful data contrast for non-habituated animals.