By Steve Hubrecht
The provincial Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) is not opposed to immuno-contraception as a method to help control urban deer populations, but does have some concerns.
The Pioneer reported last week on efforts by a Victoria-based group to promote using a contraceptive called SpayVac on does in Oay Bay (a Victoria suburb with urban deer problems) to help limit the population. The group had suggested the method could be used in other communities across the province to deal with urban deer.
The ministry (FLNRO) is aware of media reports that mention SpayVac as a viable option. However, it is the ministrys understanding that this vaccine is not currently manufactured, said FLNRO spokesperson Greig Bethel.
Mr. Bethel referenced the ministrys urban deer management fact sheet, which highlighted other concerns the ministry has with the proposed method.
Fertility control does not reduce the population immediately. If immediate population reduction is desired, other techniques, such as culling, must be implemented as a component of the overall management action, it states, adding that for any longterm change in deer population numbers and growth, 70 to 90 per cent of females in any given urban deer population must be captured, treated by fertility control and monitored.
Immuno-contraceptives are not routinely available and their use is limited to research and controlled by Health Canada, reads the fact sheet, which also details the ministry position on another method of urban deer fertility control surgical sterilization of does saying this option is invasive, complicated and only possible under strict research protocols.
The Pioneer had contacted the ministry for comment for last weeks story, and the reply came after press time.