City of Longueuil to put down 15 deer to deal with overpopulation

·2 min read

The City of Longueuil claims one of its parks is so overcrowded with deer, it could soon run out of vegetation, leaving no other choice but to euthanize 15 of them.

The province's Forestry and Fauna Ministry agrees it's the right thing to do.

According to Anaïs Gasse, a biologist with the ministry, relocating the deer instead of putting them down would be next to impossible.

"More than half of the deer would die in the hours following their relocation, or maybe days," Gasse said, referring to how difficult it would be for the livestock to adjust to new surroundings.

The soon-to-be euthanized 15 deer make up about half the population roaming in Michel-Chartrand park, a two-square-kilometre stretch of green space between Old Longueuil and Boucherville.

"By having so many deer, they are stepping on vegetation as well as eating it, which means less vegetative diversity in the park," city spokesperson Carl Boisvert said.

The park's overpopulation is also forcing deer to venture onto private properties and roads, causing damages as well as close to 40 collisions last year.

The deer are expected to be captured at the end of the month, with their meat then distributed to a food bank on the South Shore.

"We do it on site to avoid them being stressed," Boisvert said.

Mild winters not helping, says biologist

There are about 32 deer living at Michel-Chartrand park, and 100 deer total in the City of Longueuil.

Milder winter conditions help explain why several parks on the South Shore are overcrowded, Gasse said.

"It brings joy to some, but unfortunately mild winters with not much snow have an impact on livestock that won't have much mortality typically associated with harsher winters," she said.

In 2018, the Mont-Saint-Bruno provincial park had 148 deer — a 38 per cent jump compared to 2009.

The agency that manages Quebec's provincial parks, SEPAQ, already has a committee looking into possible solutions for Mont-Saint-Bruno park as well as the Parc des Îles-de-Boucherville.