The Association of Biologists of Quebec and the Ordre des Médecins Veterinaires du Québec support Longueuil’s decision to follow the recommendations of the Table de concertation on the ecological balance at Michel-Chartrand Park.
Our organization believes that the members of this Roundtable have followed a rigorous, science-based process to analyze the problem facing Parc Michel-Chartrand. The issues analyzed were complex and attributable to a combination of factors and we recognize that the diverse skills of the members of this Roundtable were essential in making effective recommendations aimed at restoring the ecological balance in the park.
“Several problems, whose combined effects have severely damaged the park’s ecological balance,” the report said. This deterioration is mainly attributed to the destructive effect of the emerald ash borer on the forest, the spread of invasive alien species that alter the natural composition of plants and the intensive grazing of plants by white-tailed deer, which abounds in the area. . The lack of predators combined with the high reproductive success of the species explain this particularly excessive abundance. The resulting destruction of plants and habitats can put the survival of the deer population at risk.
At the same time, some users feed deer, which makes them more tolerant of human presence. This is a major health concern for users, as deer is a vector for breeding black ticks, which can transmit the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease to humans. Added to this is the increased presence of deer around the park, which has led to an increase in road accidents involving deer.
The report concludes that the best solution to ensure plant recovery and biodiversity conservation, as well as public safety, is to control the deer population, and this is unfortunately through deer sterilization with the euthanasia of about sixty deer.
The animal welfare experts consulted came to the same conclusion: euthanasia was the recommended option in light of the fact that deer populations should be greatly reduced rather than resettled.
To this end, although the latter option may seem – at first glance – more attractive to animals destined for euthanasia, it is important to understand why it is not recommended in context. You should know that moving deer that are, for the most part, hosts of the black tick that causes Lyme disease have a high risk of introducing the parasite to the currently rescued population. Moreover, these animals cannot live in an environment that you are not familiar with. Completely unstable and without benchmarks, this would lead them to a state of extreme weakness, and thus certain death, in the course of their deteriorating well-being.
We are aware from the outset that the proposed solutions are not perfect and that it is difficult to accept them. However, they remain essential to maintain the ecological balance of this ecosystem for the benefit of the population and future generations.
It is important to remember that the issues raised in the table report can be observed in many other natural environments in southern Quebec. Indeed, in recent decades, human pressures on natural environments have favored land use planning, limiting the ability of ecosystems to naturally self-regulate. As a result, many companies will face similar situations in the coming years.
With human intervention ubiquitous in the region, it is expected that action will be taken to ensure the sustainability of natural environments, which support the rich – but fragile – biodiversity that must be preserved.
We believe that analyzing these complex issues and developing a business plan aims to: Competent professionals recognized for their expertise. In our opinion, in this context, the assessment makes it possible to avoid the division of opinions sometimes caused by the oversimplification of complex environmental issues such as those of the Michel-Chartrand garden. The concerns of the public, and the residents of Longueuil in particular, must also be included in such decisions.
In this sense, we believe our consulting table members and consultants have been in the best position to find solutions to garden challenges.
Biologists, with their deep knowledge of the interactions between our ecosystems and wildlife, and veterinarians, with their expertise in animal health and welfare, join together today to lend their support to the recommendations of the counseling program. The problems of fragmentation and interdependence of natural environments are important challenges that must be better integrated into the future planning of our spaces. Veterinarians and biologists will always be there to support coordinated scientific decisions.