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Anti-cull group’s blitz threatens local tourism

CAROLYN GRANT

"Do you want to bring your kids to the deer-killing capital of B.C. for spring break?" That's the message the Animal Alliance of Canada is promising to bring to Calgary newspapers if the City of Kimberley gives any indication that there will be more deer culls.

The City is currently culling 30 deer from Kimberley's urban deer population (see related story, page 5).

The Bulletin reached Liz White from the Animal Alliance in Toronto on Thursday.

White confirmed that a campaign is being put together to impact tourism in the Kootenays.

However, she says the campaign won't start yet as she has heard that the City of Kimberley voted not to invest any more money into deer culls and will invest $2,500 this year in education on wildlife conflict.

City CAO Scott Sommerville confirmed that the vote took place.

"During budget deliberations at our Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, February 25, Council recommended that staff not budget for future culls," he said. "In place of the funding that would have gone towards culls, $2,500 will be put towards educational programs. The first piece of education will be to inform schoolchildren of how to avoid conflict with deer during fawning and rutting seasons.

“The Urban Deer Advisory Committee will still make recommendations to Council on how to best deal with the urban deer issue.”

“The fact is they are moving in the right direction, but that could change on a dime,” White said. “If it does, we are looking at hiring a company to help us with a campaign to look at how we could impact tourists in Calgary. We will make it clear to Kimberley that is what we are going to do. It would be better if we could bring everyone to the table to reduce deer human conflict. If Kimberley had made the decision to not proceed with culls, it would be different.

“In the end Kimberley is the one community that has tried alternatives such as hazing. It’s clear there is interest on Council to have that happen. We could work together with Kimberley to make it a model community for a comprehensive policy.”

White says that killing 15 deer in Marysville and 15 in Chapman Camp isn’t going to make “a hill of beans of difference” in the human ungulate conflict issue.

“When you trap you don’t necessarily get the aggressive deer. I’ve got to ask, why spend money if it isn’t effective?”

But White says Animal Alliance is definitely prepared to go ahead with the ad campaign if Kimberley decides to keep culling as part of their management plan.

“If Kimberley decides to go with another cull, we have to ask parents if they want to bring their kids to Kimberley for spring break. I think we can make a pretty strong case to convince parents not to come. Do you really want to bring your kids to the capital of deer culls? I don’t think you do.”

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