A Parks Canada plan to shoot and cull invasive fallow deer on Sidney Island – just off the coast of Sidney – is being called inhumane by protesters.
On Friday, several dozen people gathered in Sidney calling on the federal government to shelve the cull, which is planned for this winter.
“We are asking Parks Canada to halt, to postpone, this program – to do a new study on the vegetation recovery and also on the count of the deers,” said protest organizer Sharon Glynn.
Parks Canada says fallow deer, which are not native to Sidney Island, were introduced for hunting purposes in the early 1900s.
Since then, the federal government, along with the Tsawout and Tsartlip First Nations, say they’ve had trouble protecting native plants.
A nearly $6 million, multi-year restoration project was approved earlier this year to cull the deer and preserve the ecosystem.
- Fawn vs. foliage: Deer eradication on Sidney Island will restore native plants, says Parks Canada
- Mass killing of fallow deer on Sidney Island will go ahead
Parks Canada estimates there are 300 to 900 fallow deer on Sidney Island.
The first phase of the $6 million project, which involves two trained marksmen shooting deer from a helicopter over a 10-day period, will begin this winter.
Phase two, which will see ground crews rounding up any remaining deer using tracker dogs, will occur in 2024.
With files from CHEK’s Oli Herrera