Thursday, April 09, 2009

Don't shoot Bambi

The big news out of our exciting burg these past few weeks revolves around a few dozen deer, the environmentally sensitive bog in which they live, and the plan to shoot them, Bambi-style, to keep the cute, furry beings from permanently destroying their habitat.

The issue's been burbling for years. The deer, innocent-looking as they are, have multiplied to the point that there are too many of them. Residents who live around the Sifton Bog often complain that they eat out of their gardens. The bog, once a pristine jewel in the middle of nowhere, has been under threat for years from rapid development that now hems it in on all sides. Non-native species have invaded and conservationists fear it'll never recover.

Various solutions, including relocation and sterilization, have been proposed. But the one that's been getting everyone's knickers in a knot has been the cull. Supporters call it the most humane and cost effective avenue. Opponents have taken to the streets with placards. They say you can't kill Bambi. Or Bambi's mom.

Here's where I sit: I'm not a deer expert. A few years back, I came across one while cycling home from work and admit feeling blessed to have witnessed this gentle animal grazing quietly in the grass. But I also didn't own the lovely heads of lettuce - or was it cabbage? - in the adjacent garden that the stately being subsequently munched, so I may have been slightly biased.

While I appreciate the position of those pleading against hauling out shotguns and going hunting, I can't get past the fact that the most ardent protesters don't fully understand the complexity of the issue, and simply don't want to see Bambi get gunned down. Continued overpopulation of an environmentally threatened area will likely result in its complete destruction, at which point the sweet little deer will either starve to death or get run over by cars as they wander the nearby streets looking for food.

There are no easy answers here. I only wish those doing the protesting would do more research beyond watching a heart-tugging Disney flick.

Your turn: So what should London do about its deer problem? Anyone got some extra lettuce growing out in the garden?


Mojo said...

We have a similar situation here with the Banker Ponies on some of the barrier islands. Left to their own devices they might overbreed and overrun their environment. But so far as I know, they've been able to manage things just fine without any help from humankind. Then again, they live on islands in a wilderness preserve where nobody's growing cabbage or shrinking their habitat. And I'm pretty sure they can -- and have -- migrated to other (uninhabited) islands when there was a need for more forage than was available.

In the circumstances, I'd vote for relocation. Despite burgeoning development, there's still plenty of wilderness left in Canada where folks aren't growing cabbage. Sure it's more cost-effective to load up the 12 gauge with deer slugs and gun them down. Bullets are always going to be cheap. But if you look at it from the deer's point of view, who's actually responsible here? The deer who breed at (probably) the same rate they always have or the humans that cordoned them off in an ever shrinking perimeter that also isolates them from their natural predators? And did perhaps those same humans also "thin out" those selfsame predators?

The point is that nature managed to maintain a balance for some 60 million years without any help from us. When will we finally figure out that we're not smarter than her?

Meanwhile, have a nosh. Thematic Photographic 44: "Edible" v.2.0: Say Cheese(cake)!

carli said...

The "balance" that nature has thrived on relied on humans hunting animals for food. I think a combination of allowing hunting and restricting development in wildlife-dense areas is the answer. Venison is delicious and healthy. And I'll bet many of those who are protesting their deaths (presumably as quick and painless as possible and after a life of freedom) have no problem eating animals who have spent their lives holed up in disgusting conditions at a factory farm.

guppyman said...

What I hate about all of this argument...? people that somehow leave US out when they speak of nature. Folks... we are natural! We just happen to be the most dominant thing nature has ever seen... We are predators - and we are very good at it.

On the plus side... Deer tastes GOOD! On the down side - You can't shoot the protesters...

David said...

excess deer = low priced venison.
feed the homeless.
but then I live in the mountains and will be doing survival stuff if the economic mess keep deteriorating.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

They are all over the place here. I think homeowners should have fences if they want to protect certain plants, and there is no reason for guns and killing when there are ways to sterilize the population.

Marion said...

It's similar here...although the cull involving wildlife is not limited to includes Bear and Wolf and Coyote...the very predators who keep the Deer population at bay.

It seems to me humans manage to screw up the balance of nature, because I think Mother Nature would handle overpopulation just fine, all on her own.

On the other hand, it's extremely irritating, as a gardener, to go out in the morning to the garden, which has been completely munched on overnight!

Daryl said...

Where's Robin Hood when he's needed?

Mimi said...

The balance also has to do with natural predators. There aren't as many as there used to be. Unfortunately, the problem is there because we have intervened in the first place.

Star said...

Years ago, and facing a similar situation, the city allowed a deer hunt during a specified time period on city park land. We had outcries, and court proceedings, and protestors on site. But the hunt took place.