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Are there too many deer in Okotoks? The city is hoping to reply that query and provide you with some baseline information this weekend — and it’s asking residents (and their smartphones) for assist.

In the previous, Okotoks used volunteers to stroll by the city and rely deer populations with a digicam, clipboard and pencil, however this 12 months, it’s utilizing a free app as an alternative.

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“We felt that getting about 100 volunteers together was pretty intensive for a small community,” parks supervisor Christa Michailuck stated.

“What we really wanted to do was find a mobile app that people could report their wildlife sightings right on their phone.”

NatureLynx was launched by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) this summer time. Using it, Albertans can file wildlife sightings throughout the province. They’re requested to take a photograph of the animal and enter some primary particulars, like what number of deer have been noticed within the space at the moment and what they have been doing.

“They download the app to their mobile device, they can join the Okotoks group and then our deer count mission,” Michailuck stated. “Once they come across deer during the deer count, they can go to the app, click the little camera button… just take a picture of what they see, fill out the little form and hit submit.”

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For 2018, Okotoks hosted two one-hour deer rely home windows. The first happened on Friday between 1 p.m. and a couple of p.m. The second will happen on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The city can also be conducting a citizen survey about city deer to assist perceive folks’s attitudes and experiences.

“Our urban deer have been a little bit controversial in that we do have some human-deer conflict, with respect to damage to yards and gardens, as well as a handful of aggressive deer conflict reports,” Michailuck stated.

“We felt it was important to establish baseline deer population data so that we can look at trends over the years to see if our deer population is stable or if it’s increasing or decreasing.”

The ABMI has been accumulating wildlife inhabitants information for about 10 years. Usually, the province would monitor wildlife like deer utilizing an aerial survey within the winter.

WATCH: Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation coping with heavy workload

“An app is a great way to get information, especially in an urban setting,” stated Brett Boukall, a senior wildlife biologist with Alberta Environment and Parks.

“Urban settings are sometimes actually tough to pattern for wildlife. Either you possibly can’t fly over an city setting resulting from restrictions on air house or it’s simply actually tough to get in and amongst folks’s backyards resulting from personal possession considerations.

“Having an app actually permits the general public — public — to participate,” Boukall stated. “In an urban setting, you have a great source of citizens available to you to help use that app and collect that information.”

As the wildlife biologist within the space, he’s very appreciative of all of the efforts the Town of Okotoks is making to grasp the quantity and site of deer, in addition to how folks within the municipality wish to co-exist with them.

“They conducted a survey… in 2015 and that’s really informed the town as to how they’re moving forward with the deer and maintaining deer, understanding what citizens want relative to the deer.”

Those survey outcomes steered there 66 deer inside Okotoks however the city has annexed land since 2015.

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Michailuck want to see between 30 and 50 residents take part within the on-line deer rely. The outcomes must be made accessible pretty quickly after Sunday’s occasion.

No choices will likely be made about wildlife administration primarily based on one 12 months’s price of knowledge, she stated, however the rely will supply some data to trace.

“When you try to do something that you haven’t found others have done before, there isn’t anyone to copy and try and learn from their mistakes,” Michailuck stated.

“This is our first time trying these new options but it’s been going really well and NatureLynx has been really great. They’ve managed to get this app up and running in the past few months and contacted us back and said, ‘We’re ready to go’… So we’re going to give it a try.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-09-14 18:38:00, as ‘Okotoks asks residents to assist rely deer utilizing free app’ on GLOBALNEWS CANADA. Here is a supply hyperlink for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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