As part of our neighbourhood community building effort, a number of neighbours and I have been documenting the flora and fauna of our small urban forest (see earlier post on “Fraserview forest”) here in south Vancouver, over the past few years.
We’ve compiled an 80+ page document, and we’re making it public here on the Urbantreefrog blog, here is part 2:
Animals that once graced Fraserview forest
Reference: British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide, Wikipedia, and local residents
2. Whitetail Deer
Status: NO LONGER FOUND IN FRASERVIEW
My dear friend, Leonard George, hereditary Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh nation (Burrard band) fondly remembers the deer his father, legendary Chief Dan George, had caught as a young man in what is now downtown Vancouver. It was near what is now the intersection of Granville and Robson Streets. Although Leonard does not know the species of deer it was, it was likely a white tail deer, one of the smaller members of the deer family. It’s hard to imagine that we had these magnificent animals once roaming in what is now Vancouver.
Even more intriguing is the fact that our city had these animals roaming our fragmented urban forests right up to the 1970’s.
These deer have coats of tan or reddish-brown in the summer and greyish-brown in the winter. The belly, throat, nose band, eye ring and insides of the ears are white and the sides of the chin have black spots. The antlers have individual tines that grow upward from each of the main beams.
Whitetail deer resides in the lower south-east corner of the province. The Northwest Whitetail deer is found only in BC.
Deer are browsers rather than grazers and feed on a variety of vegetation including green plants, nuts and corn, and trees and twigs. Although the deer is a good swimmer and runner (reaching speeds of 35 mph) it falls prey to a number of animals including the cougar, domestic dog, wolf, coyote, lynx, bobcat and bear.
According to longtime Fraserview residents, the last fawn born in Fraserview was attacked and killed by dogs in the mid 1970s. Many old time residents speak fondly of seeing deers in our golfcourse / forest.