We are writing to correct some misinformation about the deer situation in Invermere. Our mayor said the lawsuit is about a failure to properly consult. The other main issue is failure to assure life and death decisions are based on solid scientific facts.
Science for the purpose of conservation and biology cannot be applied to populated areas. The counts done recently in B.C. towns compare rough estimates of deer to an undetermined or arbitrary “socially tolerable” density. U.S. jurisdictions pulled numbers out of midair to justify ongoing, ineffective culling. District of Invermere counts deer — not with the admirable objective of determining population trends, demographics or distribution — but to justify killing more deer.
They decided to kill deer based on anecdotes and exaggerated complaints about plant damage and “threat”. Their poorly thought-out foray into amateur wildlife management exacerbates intolerance for all wildlife. Rather than showing leadership to encourage citizens to live with wildlife in our small town they chose to follow the advice and example of Helena, Mont.
The methods of killing are cruel whether it is the bolt gun used in Invermere or arrow — animals suffer violence and die in backyards for no reason. District of Invermere did not follow the Helena advice to notify neighbours when traps were set just over the fence from dissenters. There was no effort to focus the killing in any way — by gender, species, age, location, “aggression” and there is no methodology to measure the effectiveness of killing.
We must appreciate our healthy, natural, stable deer population and understand we do not know enough about our ecosystem to mess with it. In some parts of North America deer numbers have declined drastically and the vacant habitat is now populated with other ungulate species. In other jurisdictions, culling goes on and on, year after year, because the survivors respond biologically and repopulate habitat.
The B.C. government states they are not responsible for the behaviour of wildlife. Why then are B.C. towns determined to assume liability by foolishly assuring complainers they can eliminate the already minuscule risk of wildlife conflict? Towns must educate citizens of our shared responsibility for wildlife and that fencing, avoidance, dog leashing and other non-lethal actions are effective.
The Invermere Deer Protection Society believes we must value wildlife in our communities. Please, Penticton, don’t wait for the conclusion of our lawsuit to do the right thing. You can value, protect and live with wildlife now.
Devin Kazakoff, president
Invermere Deer Protection Society