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Quebec to develop a plan to control and cull the white-tailed deer population

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Quebec's provincial parks organization (Sépaq) announced that it will develop an intervention plan in the coming months to control the white-tailed deer population in Mont-Saint-Bruno and Îles-de-Boucherville national parks.

The decision from the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec is intended to promote the protection of the natural environment and ecosystems in the provincial parks that have been affected by white-tailed deer overpopulation.

According to a Sépaq news release, excessive grazing, the scarcity of food for all species, the increased risk of spreading Lyme disease and road collisions are the main documented issues motivating the preparation of this intervention plan.

Sépaq, which also participates in the urban and suburban deer management committee, which also includes experts from the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parks (MFFP), said that the experts' and scientists' recommendations favoured the use of a lethal reduction method for deer.

The society added that the euthanasia method is used elsewhere in Quebec, Canada and the United States.

The plan, which is under development, will "define the type of intervention, the locations, the density thresholds targeted and the most appropriate period for an operation that meets expectations," the release reads. "However, the deer (populations) are growing at a high rate that requires a rapid intervention, possibly in the fall or next winter."

Sépaq said the densities of deer in Mont-Saint-Bruno and Îles-de-Boucherville national parks are 15.2 deer/km and 30.5 deer/km respectively.

"The ideal density for the natural environment would be 5 deer/km," the society said.

Sépaq said that the intervention is necessary and that "it will rely on the well-documented opinions of experts and scientists with a view to protecting and conserving the national parks so that future generations can also benefit from them."

THE LONGUEUIL DEER CULL CONTROVERSY

The City of Longueuil had planned to cull half of the white-tailed deer population in Michel-Chartrand Park, or about 15 animals.

The city, however, backed down after the idea sparked outrage and even led to threats against the mayor.

An animal rescue organization tried to protect the white-tailed deer population in Michel-Chartrand Park, but failed. The City of Longueuil finally went ahead despite the controversy and followed the recommendations of the report of the consultation table set up by the City, which concluded that euthanasia remains the best option for controlling the deer population in the park.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 12, 2022. 

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