Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent has put an end to the controversial operation to capture and kill 15 deer at Michel-Chartrand park.
The operation was underway Monday afternoon, with traps placed across the park and police officers patrolling the area.
In a Facebook post published late on Monday, Parent said she was forced to change her decision, in spite of the measure being approved by Quebec’s ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and having “consensus among the scientific community”.
“The threat posed today by some people to harm, thwart the operation to control the deer population in the Michel-Chartrand park forced us to consider another choice,” Parent said in her post in French.
Parent did not specify what threat, Longueuil police would only confirm that there was a protest at the park.
The mayor says she has asked the city’s general manager to get approval from the ministry to move the 15 deer it planned to kill to another authorized location instead.
“I’m certainly relieved,” said Eric Dussault, general manager of Sauvetage Animal Rescue. “I’m also happy that reason prevailed over politics.”
Just hours before the mayor back tracked, Dussault had presented a plan to the city to capture, sedate and move the deer to an animal sanctuary, at no cost to the city.
The plan was backed by renowned lawyer and animal activist Anne-France Goldwater, who asked the city to desist and come to another solution — or meet her in court.
“The injunction was ready and on the verge of being sent to the city,” Dussault told Global News. “Did that play into it? Did the press conference scare the city’s officials? We will never know the motivation behind it.”
READ MORE: Longueuil deer cull triggers protest
The decision to cull the white-tailed deer sparked outrage and protests among the population.
It even lead to the arrest and release of a man over alleged threats to Parent’s life over the plan.
Parent said the operation should be carried in the next few weeks.