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Don't feed the Downtown Deer, says BC SPCA

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DH Vancouver Staff Aug 25, 2015 3:28 pm

Stanley Park’s most famous resident has been getting a lot of attention lately, and it could spell his eventual doom, says the BC SPCA.

Last month, a juvenile deer made its way into Downtown Vancouver, wandering around for several hours before eventually settling in Stanley Park. Recent videos of people feeding, petting, and generally interacting with the so-called Downtown Deer present troubling possibilities.

“This is an animal that came into the space on its own. He probably was looking for his home range, and left the traditional territory for the deer,” Dr. Sara Dubois, Chief Scientific Officer for the BC SPCA, told Vancity Buzz. “He’s only a year old, so it’s sort of like a teenager leaving home, and unfortunately he picked a really bad spot.”

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By feeding the deer, Dubois says there’s the chance of him becoming habituated or tame, approaching people more and more, putting himself and others at risk.

“He’s going to get hit by a car if we make some type of arrangement to get him out there,” she says.

Dubois says the problem stems from the lack of a standing bylaw, allowing Stanley Park Rangers to fine people caught feeding the park’s wildlife; something the BC SPCA has suggested and encouraged in the past. While the deer itself doesn’t pose a threat to people, Dubois acknowledges people might not realize the threat they pose to the deer.

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“We’re more dangerous to him than he is to us. With the vehicles, and people feeding him, something could happen where he could spook and run into a car, or run off the Seawall and break a leg,” cautions Dubois. “We would like to see him moved if that’s possible, because I don’t think this is going to end well.”

For more information on the subject, the BC SPCA has a number of resources available on interacting with urban deer and the issues surrounding the feeding of wildlife.

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DH Vancouver Staff
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