Point Pelee National Park To Close For Deer Population Reduction

Monday January 4th, 2021

Posted at 6:53pm

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Point Pelee National Park will be closed to visitors from January 7th to January 21st, 2021 for a deer population reduction.

The annual reduction is part of a multi-year plan to improve environmental health by Parks Canada and Caldwell First Nation.

According to parks officials, high populations (hyperabundant) of white-tailed deer are a serious threat to forest and savannah health at Point Pelee National Park. Through over-browsing, the deer in the park are consuming and damaging native plants faster than they can regenerate, threatening the health of the Carolinian Forest, which is home to a number of species at risk such as the Red Mulberry Tree, Red-Headed Woodpecker, and Eastern Foxsnake.

Deer are also jeopardizing park efforts to restore the Lake Erie Sandspit Savannah, a globally rare ecosystem that supports 25% of the species at risk in the park.

Parks Canada says based on over 30 years of research and monitoring, a healthy and balanced environment at Point Pelee National Park would ideally support 24 to 32 deer.

They say that a series of mild winters with light snow cover and a lack of natural predators, such as wolves and cougars, have allowed the park’s white-tailed deer population to grow to three to four times higher than what can be sustained.

Population reduction is reserved for situations of absolute necessity and Parks Canada has been collaborating with the Caldwell First Nation for a number of years to actively manage the deer population to protect the park’s sensitive ecosystems.

A dedicated COVID-19 Mitigation Plan has been developed in accordance with public health guidance and will be implemented to ensure the safety of staff and Caldwell First Nation partners in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

The deer reduction activity is part of a larger, ongoing initiative to improve the health of Point Pelee National Park, including planting native Carolinian species and removing invasive plants.

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