The provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) has clarified some of the concerns it has about relocation or urban deer. The Valley Echo had contacted the ministry for comment for an urban deer relocation story that was the lead news story in the December 17th issue.

The ministry responded after press time that nobody was available for an interview, but a spokesperson was recently able to provide some insight on FLNRO’s position on relocation.

“The literature and provincial biologists provided concerns with this option (relocating urban deer), including high deer injury and death associated with capture, transport and after release, unfamiliarity and competition with other deer in the release areas and the potential for disease transmission,” said FLNRO communications manager Sharon Dean.

The proposal for an urban deer relocation pilot project is still in preliminary stages, but ministry biologists and local government representatives from the Kootenay region have invited a contractor to develop a work plan that might be used for a future trial project, according to Dean.

“As deer are well established throughout their historic range in B.C., translocations are expected to have no significant ecological benefits. As transplanted animals often make unusual dispersive movements, the relocation of urban deer to new areas risks relocating the problem to new areas,” Dean said.

“These concerns, particularly the humane aspects, result in poor social and ecological values of moving deer.”

The earliest possible date for a pilot relocation project would be winter 2016, she said.

The ministry was not able to offer comment on the cost associated with such a project but Invermere mayor Gerry Taft had previously told The Valley Echo that in discussions between local Kootenay government representatives and ministry biologists in the fall of 2014, it had been suggested that cost would be around $1,000 per deer.