Almost 200 deer carcasses have been collected in Nanaimo this year - most being hit by vehicles - yet there doesn't seem to be a solution in sight.
According to statistics from Coastal Animal Services, 184 deer have been found dead in the city since January. This month alone, 24 carcasses have been recovered - nearly one per day.
Coastal Animal Services manager Susan Hughes said the majority are likely being hit by vehicles.
Wandering deer have been an issue in Nanaimo for years, with many residents concerned about the dangers of deer on the road and coming into neighbourhoods to destroy property.
City councillor Bill McKay said the city has dropped the idea of a deer cull.
"They're struggling with (whether or not to cull deer) in other communities around," McKay said. "Myself, I'd like to learn more about how we can all cohabitate together."
Despite a bylaw passed last spring that made it illegal to feed deer, Nanaimo conservation officer Steve Ackles said he believes the numbers haven't changed much in the past few years. Ackles said people still feed the deer both within and outside city limits, where there is no bylaw forbidding it.
"I haven't noticed any population increase or decrease in the deer," said Ackles. "If there is a problem in the area, bylaw officers have served ($100) tickets. In other areas in the regional district, outside of the city limit, it unfortunately isn't unlawful to feed deer."
ICBC statistics indicate there were 1,900 vehicle crashes involving animals on Vancouver Island last year.
According to recent Wildlife Accident Reporting System data, deer are involved in approximately 80 per cent of all wildlife vehicle collisions in B.C. The WARS report also states there is increased wildlife movement in summer months because dry, hot weather makes it more difficult for wild animals to forage for food. In the fall, mating season causes deer to move around even more, and often show aggressive behavior.
Dusk and dawn are typically high collision times.
Ackles warned the deer are also attracting predators such as cougars into the city, and is encouraging residents to report sightings by calling 1-877-952-7277. "Definitely we have a high urban deer population," said Ackles. "Probably more so than other communities on the Island."
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