Coldstream’s ‘friendly deer’ put down

Watch: In the face of public backlash, the Conservation Officer Service defends the killing of a very friendly deer in the north Okanagan. Toby Tannas reports.

A deer who has become a familiar sight in the community of Coldstream has been put down.

Stuart Bertrand with Ministry of Environment confirmed to Global News in an email Tuesday afternoon that the animal that became affectionately known as the ‘friendly deer’ in the community was euthanized by the Conservation Officer Service “in the interest of public safety.”

Bertrand said the decision was made in consultation with the provincial wildlife veterinarian.

He says the deer was hand-raised and very habituated to humans, which made it a high risk for unpredictable behaviour.

Bertrand adds the deer’s behaviour was escalating due to the arrival of the breeding season, and relocation of the deer was not “a viable option.”

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Bertrand says they are reminding the public to not approach or feed wildlife.

“When wildlife become habituated to people and/or conditioned to feeding on human food sources they eventually become a risk to public safety and property.”

Over the weekend, Coldstream resident Danielle Scott sent this video of the deer playing in her backyard to Global News.

Scott says it was not the first time the deer showed up in her backyard. She says the deer stuck around for a little while and was very friendly.

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“He walked right up to me, stuck his nose right into my face like he was going to give me a kiss, and started rubbing on me,” said Scott.

A young deer was also captured on video earlier this summer, rubbing his antlers against a teen at a local beach. It is not clear if it is the same deer that was euthanized.

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On Sunday, a local paper published a story about the deer called “Friendly deer sounds official’s alarm.” In the article, it was alleged conservation and wildlife officials had concerns about the deer being so unusually friendly towards humans.

Vernon WildSafe B.C. community coordinator Marnie Cuthill was quoted saying the mule deer was already big enough to inadvertently injure an adult or child with its antlers when it rubs up against them.

But, Trevor Seibel with the District of Coldstream told Global News earlier today they did not have any incidents involving the deer that were reported to them.

“There have not been any accidents or injuries that we are aware of,” said Seibel.

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