Fallow_deer_herd-1024

On the question of invasive species

What constitutes an invasive species and how it should be dealt with

By Georges R. Dupras

September 26, 2023

There seems no end to the rational calling for the eradication of so-called invasive species. This is despite much discussion on what constitutes an invasive species ¹. We are told that there are just under 1,500 invasive species living in this country, including fish, plants, insects and invertebrates.

At present, the government of British Columbia has sanctioned the complete annihilation of the Sidney Island fallow deer population. This will be carried out by sharp-shooters from helicopters and ground shooters. The fallow deer was introduced to nearby James Island by hunters in the 1900s.

Options: immunocontraception and relocation

On recognizing that we introduced the deer, are we not ethically responsible for addressing the issue in a progressive ² manner?

Relocation

Whenever a situation such as this occurs (cormorants, coyotes, mule deer, seals, wolves, bears), the government, through its ministries and Parks Canada (PC), resort to old methods of the 40s and 50s, which include bounties, culls, eradication, poisoning, trapping, etc., this despite widespread protestation by most Canadians.

… are we not ethically responsible for addressing the issue in a progressive manner?

The prevailing mindsets in government and their ministerial advisors steadfastly refuse to even consider new technologies. Our methods, such as immunocontraception ³ and relocation 4, have been tested on the mule deer of British Columbia, with the success rate far outpacing the losses.

The invasive human

There is no doubt that the Sidney Island deer have changed the topography of the area. Slow changes in habitats are ongoing and have occurred for millions of years. Present-day changes are happening with increasing speed.

By far, the greatest invasive factor is the human primate. Human activities have dramatically altered our environment.

Identification of invasive species

Though an official number for invasive species in Canada exists, this number is disputed as we cannot all agree on species or timelines. Are cormorants an invasive species?

Designation used to vilify certain species

A major concern is that much like overpopulation, the designation “invasive” has now become a justification to vilify a species and thus cull or annihilate it in the interest of specific lobbies, including hunting and fishing.

Not all are invasive

In Alaska, the Intensive Management Plan (IMP) is designed to enhance the Mulchatua caribou herd for hunters. As in other jurisdictions, the “Plan” promotes a culture that vilifies wolves and bears and views them as disposable. Neither the bear nor the wolf is classified as an invasive species.

‘By far, the greatest invasive factor is the human primate. Human activities have dramatically altered our environment.’

It is to be noted that the lion’s share of the State’s annual wildlife budget goes to the Intensive Management Plan. This suggests the unthinkable, that overpopulation culls and the annihilation of invasive populations exist to placate hunters and grow Parks Canada’s status and payroll.

A new direction, a new mindset

The Animal Alliance of Canada, among others, has been working towards developing a different mindset among Parks Canada and Ministry officials. For years, complaints have been levied at officials regarding how they viewed and reacted to wildlife issues. Today, efforts are being made to change mindsets that are out of touch with today’s generation. It is a learning curve that will require compromise, patience and humour.

Georges R. Dupras
Director
Animal Alliance of Canada


1. An invasive species is an organism not indigenous or native to a particular area.
2. A progressive manner means not in a lethal or cruel manner.
3. To sterilize and thus stop the spread of that species.
4. Tranquilize and relocate using the most advanced chemicals administered by a well-trained technician. Drugs include Carfentenil, Ketamine, Xylazine, Medetomidine, and Diazepan.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of WestmountMag.ca, its publishers or editors.

Feature image: Fallow deer heard, by Memurubu, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.ca

Read also: other articles by Georges Dupras

Other recent articles


Georges Dupras

Georges R. Dupras has advocated for animals for over fifty years. A member of the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), a Director of the Animal Alliance of Canada (AAC), a Quebec Representative of Zoocheck Canada and a past Board member of the Canadian SPCA, he worked on the original Save the Seal campaign in 1966 that culminated in the founding of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 1969. Georges Dupras has published two books, Values in Conflict and the eBook Ethics, a Human Condition, and currently lives in Montreal, Canada.


We bring the springtime. Save $10 when you book online at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?



There are 2 comments

Add yours
  1. Jean

    Excellent article! As usual, the innocent animals pay the price for man’s ignorance, namely, introducing the “invasive” species in the first place. And as usual, governments continue to pander to the special interests of hunters, ranchers, sport fishing, etc. So discouraging, that in 2023, we have advanced so little.

  2. Jean Le Marquand

    Excellent article! As usual, the innocent animals pay the price for man’s ignorance, namely, introducing the “invasive” species in the first place. And as usual, governments continue to pander to the special interests of hunters, ranchers, sport fishing, etc. So discouraging, that in 2023, we have advanced so little.


Post a new comment