Longueuil's deer population explodes beyond sustainable size months after city decided to forego cull

It's hard to walk in Longueuil's Michel-Chartrand Park without crossing paths with a deer.

They four-hoofed creatures are all over the place and fighting for limited food. Animal rights advocates say there could be as many as 70 of them, twice as many as last fall when, under public pressure, the city decided not to euthanize 15 of them to keep the population under control

“We already have an issue of overpopulation with 15 deer,” explained Eric Dussault, the director of Sauvetage Animal Rescue, a non-profit that offered to relocate the deer targeted for euthanasia to various zoos and nature parks in Quebec.

Biologists at the city of Longueuil determined that 15 is the maximum the small park can handle given its limited supply of food, but the city's plan to cull half the herd met with province-wide outrage and some city officials even received death threats.

When the dispute spilled over last fall, a compromise was reached. The City of Longueuil and other stakeholders convened around a table and were supposed to release a report this fall on how to solve the deer issue. Neither the city nor the organization called Les Amis du Parc Michel-Chartrand answered requests for comments

In the meantime, the deer population keeps growing, and experts think they won't survive in this environment much longer. Moving them to the wild is not an option, because provincial authorities are afraid they'll spread Lyme disease. Animal Rescue says it has a better solution: sterilize the animals and feed them during their six-year life cycle to make sure they don’t starve.

“If you sterilize them, it will be a great option because you just have to feed them for six years,” explained Dussault

Until a permanent solution is found, the deer population will just keep growing and fighting for fewer and fewer ressources

Newsletters

Breaking News alerts, info on contests, and special offers from partners