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Professor Dawn Bazely, director of IRIS, on climate change and Hamilton-area deer populations

Professor Dawn Bazely, director of IRIS, on climate change and Hamilton-area deer populations

An expert in forest ecology is likening an animal rights group’s claim that deer aren’t a threat to Iroquois Heights Conservation Area to those who still deny climate change is underway, wrote the Hamilton Mountain News and the Ancaster News Oct. 14:

Dawn Bazely, director of York University’s Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), also dismissed as “rubbish” assertions by the Animal Alliance of Canada that non-lethal interventions like discouraging feeding and erecting better fences have successfully cut problem deer numbers at the Sifton Bog in London, Ont.

A biology professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, Bazely said London politicians backed down from a deer hunt favoured by neighbouring residents last year after a councillor and opponents denounced shooting deer as barbaric and “worse than abortion.”

She accused Animal Alliance of exploiting the “Bambi” emotional factor and ignoring the damage deer are doing at Iroquois Heights, where an aerial survey in January of last year counted 102 in a 66-hectare section, 90 more than considered healthy.

“Why aren’t they campaigning for cockroaches?” said Bazely, who outlined the impact deer have on forest ecology and biodiversity to a Hamilton Conservation Authority committee that is considering how to deal with the deer population. “We exterminate other single species. Where’s the campaign for rats? Where’s the campaign for raccoons?”

During her presentation, Bazely said it’s “not debatable” that deer populations of more than 10 per square kilometre kill future trees because they eat any new growth up to two metres above ground. They also devour native plants like trillium, allowing invasive plants to take over, she said. “The entire middle layer of the forest, it’s not there any more,” she said.

Republished courtesy of YFile – York University’s daily e-bulletin.