Friday, February 13, 2009

UK NEWS: Proposal to Reintroduce Lynx to Control Deer

Lynx should be reintroduced into Britain to control rising deer populations, a senior Oxford University ecologist has said.

The big cats, which were hunted to extinction in this country 500 years ago, would be the most effective way of enforcing the annual cull of 500,000 deer that experts say is necessary to protect the countryside, according to Professor David Macdonald.

The head of the university's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit said that the predators would pose no risk to humans, and has urged for dozens of the animals to be imported from eastern Europe.

East Anglia and the Highlands and Southern Uplands of Scotland would be among the prime candidates for lynx restoration, which has previously been tried in countries including France, Italy and Austria.

"As far as I am aware there has not been any recorded case of a lynx being a danger to people and they are the most practical candidates for reintroduction into the UK," Prof Macdonald said.

"There are all these deer that people are having to control and the lynx could help out. A few sheep would be killed but experience on the Continent shows that it is manageable."

There are thought to be more than two million deer in Britain, the highest level for a thousand years. Farmers blame them for eating crops, destroying woodland and threatening native bird and animal life.

The population rise is partly blamed on the lack of natural predators but Peter Watson, director of the Deer Initiative which is charged with managing the deer population, said that a lynx reintroduction would not solve the problem. Currently 350,000 deer are culled in Britain a year, mostly by shotgun.

"Despite current deer management programme the population is still increasing, so if you want to see the numbers stabilise or decline you need to do something else. But I'm not convinced that natural predators can provide the scale of culling that is necessary," he said.

"There is clearly an issue with domestic livestock and pets as well. In Switzerland, nearly 200 sheep were killed by lynx in one year."

Any lynx reintroduction scheme should first be trialed in Scotland where deer populations are highest compared to human habitation, he added.

A spokesman for Natural England was cautious about the plan.

"Lynx are also territorial and you would need some pretty large home ranges for them – if you are going to introduce up to 100 animals which is what would be needed, then only a vast tract of land would be suitable."

Source: Telegraph

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Emerging Issues in White-tailed Deer Management

White-tailed deer are a biologically, socially, and economically important wildlife species. Decisions we make today in how to manage deer affects all of us. The purpose of this conference is to facilitate dialogue and new ideas related to the most critical issues in white-tailed deer management. Leading researchers from across the country will present an in-depth look into emerging issues including urban deer management, human dimensions, population management, and more.

For information click here

If you attend, stop by and visit me at my presentation:

How quickly do forests recover from deer impacts? Insights from Wisconsin exclosure studies.

OHIO NEWS: CWD Not Detected in Ohio

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, state and federal agriculture and wildlife officials collected 1,021 samples last year from hunter-harvested deer, primarily during the deer-gun season that ran December 1-7. All CWD testing is performed at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).

In addition to CWD, 966 samples, or 94.6 percent of the hunter-harvested deer samples were also tested for bovine tuberculosis. Results found no evidence of this disease in Ohio deer. Additional CWD samples are being taken from road-killed deer, but those test results are not yet available.

Read the full story: State Journal

OHIO NEWS: Granville Cull Successful

The village could begin seeing a reduction in the amount of residential landscaping damaged by deer if the bowhunting program continues to make gains as it did this year, says Clerk of Council Mollie Prasher, who oversees the program.

Bowhunters well more than doubled the deer harvest in the second year of a program designed to cut down on damage to landscaping.

A total of 47 hunters killed 95 deer this season during the four-month bowhunting season that ended Feb. 1. That compares with 37 taken by 17 hunters last year, when the program started 1 1/2 months into the season.

"This was a great outcome," said Mayor Melissa Hartfield. "The village staff did a great job."

Prasher said she believes the yield can be increased steadily over the next few years, with a positive effect on preserving landscaping. More hunters can be enrolled and residents have offered additional land on which they can hunt, she said.

"We haven't even begun to tap the market for hunters," she said. Prasher said she'd like see a deer harvest goal of 120-125 next year.

In addition to limiting the deer repopulation rate, bowhunting is also driving deer from the village into Granville Township or Newark to the east, Prasher said.

Contributing to the program's success this year, Prasher said, was the lifting of a state requirement limiting the number of deer a hunter could take in a single day to two.

In two of the areas where the largest number of deer were killed, the near east side and Fern Hill, residents also reported seeing a decrease in the number of deer.

Although some residents have objected to the program because of human safety or their concern for wildlife, there were very few complaints from residents, Prasher said. There were a few instances in which wounded deer wandered on neighboring properties, she said.

When requested by neighbors, the village posted "hunting zone" signs on properties being hunted.

"That alleviated their concerns," she said.

Source: Newark Advocate

WISCONSIN NEWS: Continued Opposition to Oskhosh Cull

While only three deer have been killed so far by sharpshooters in Oshkosh, controversy surrounding the issue is alive and well.

"The deer were out there before other houses were," said Faye Helstrom of Oshkosh. "We're invading their territory."

Contention boiled over well before a city council meeting discussing the issue even began. As both sides met, heated words filled the hallway.

"A huge buck came across the street. I don't know how they missed this deer," Nancy Binder of Oshkosh said describe a near miss. "I would hate to have my grandchildren in that car."

Supporters feel the growing deer population is a safety risk, while opponents claim the city council should have further explored non-lethal means of controlling the herd.

"Look what's happened since you made a decision to cull these deer," said Amy Haberkorn of Oshkosh. "The anger is growing and it's going to continue to grow and divide the city."

Of the three deer killed, Oshkosh police told the crowd one was a fawn, drawing boos from some. However, others say the issue must be treated rationally.

"Their argument is purely emotional and I don't think they should be given the same weight as the people who are actually dealing with the deer problems in their own neighborhood," an Oshkosh man said.

The council has already made its stance on the issue clear. All but one member has voted in favor of sharpshooters.

"We're going to fight city hall and we're going to win this one," Janet Helstrom of Oshkosh said.

Opponents of the cull say they've collected more than 700 signatures but at this point no change has been made. The sharpshooters have a contract to cull up to 40 deer by the end of the year.

Source: Fox 11 Online

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

MICHIGAN NEWS: Rochester Hills Cull Halted Amid Outcry

After months of protests and strongly voiced opposition to a deer culling operation in Rochester Hills, the city council voted about midnight Tuesday to halt the effort.

In an unexpected 4-3 vote after a long meeting that started at 7:30 p.m. Monday, the council voted to stop the culling -- which started last month -- and create a committee to study the city’s deer management policy.

Residents were excited at the council’s decision.

“I think this is fantastic,” said Carol Donovan, adding that she believes the issue finally became clearer to council members. “I am surprised.”

Council President Greg Hooper and Councilmen J. Martin Brennan and Vern Pixley voted against the measure, with Councilman Michael Webber being the surprise vote in favor of stopping the cull, which the council approved in November.

“I go back and forth on this issue, I really have. I really struggle with it,” Webber said. “I don’t feel as though the culling has had the impact that we thought it would.”

Councilman Erik Ambrozaitis, who made the motion to stop the cull, said fewer than 20 deer had been killed by sharpshooters with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, which was handling the effort for the city this winter for free. The city had permits from the Department of Natural Resources to kill up to 200 deer.

Webber said during the meeting that the cull was scheduled to stop at the end of this month.

This decision to halt the effort came under mounting pressure by those who vocally opposed the culling at council meetings and through protests. Dozens turned out at the meeting Monday to oppose the cull. For Rochester Hills resident Diane Pawlowicz, 62, it was disheartening that the elected officials -- at least initially -- seemed disinterested in hearing what people had to say.

“I voted for you,” she said. “I hoped that this would be a team of people that I could trust.”
But Brennan, standing up behind the council’s dais during the meeting, said that the council’s decision in November to approve the cull was the right one.

He said that Rochester Hills is a busy community, with people who don’t want to change their lifestyles by driving slower on roads to prevent deer-vehicle accidents, which he said he counts as one of the biggest concerns.

“This is a major suburb of Detroit,” Brennan said. “It’s not Walden pond.”

But these types of accidents have already decreased.

In 2007, there were 219 vehicle-deer crashes in the city, but area agencies project that number has dropped to a maximum of 160 in 2008, Lance DeVoe, the naturalist for Rochester Hills, has said. The expected decrease, DeVoe said, can most likely be attributed to a disease that killed about 100 deer in the city last year.

The next move for council is to create a committee of six citizens, three council members and city staff to assess the city’s deer management strategies, including reviewing deer-vehicle crash statistics, identifying possible sources of funding for implementing the policy and reviewing the deer cull.

Councilman Jim Rosen said the council moved too quickly in approving the cull.

“Let’s learn something from this,” he said, “and not ever do anything like this again.”