Issued: January 02, 2020

Ends: January 24, 2020

LEAMINGTON, ONTARIO, January 2, 2020 – To ensure the long-term health of Point Pelee National Park’s sensitive ecosystems, Parks Canada and the Caldwell First Nation will be conducting a deer reduction activity from January 9 to January 24, 2020. Public safety is of the utmost priority to Parks Canada, therefore Point Pelee National Park will be closed to visitors during this time.

Parks Canada is responsible for maintaining and restoring ecological integrity in national parks. High populations (hyperabundant) of white-tailed deer are a serious threat to forest and savannah health at Point Pelee National Park. Through over-browsing, the deer in the park are consuming and damaging native plants faster than they can regenerate, threatening the health of the Carolinian Forest, which is home to a number of species at risk such as the Red Mulberry Tree, Red-Headed Woodpecker, and Eastern Foxsnake. Deer are also jeopardizing efforts to restore the Lake Erie Sandspit Savannah, a globally rare ecosystem that supports 25% of the species at risk in the park.

Based on over 30 years of research and monitoring, a healthy and balanced environment at Point Pelee National Park would ideally support 24 to 32 deer. A series of mild winters with light snow cover and a lack of natural predators, such as wolves and cougars, have allowed the park’s white-tailed deer population to grow to three to four times higher than what can be sustained. Population reduction is reserved for situations of absolute necessity and Parks Canada has been collaborating with the Caldwell First Nation for a number of years to actively manage the deer population to protect the park’s sensitive ecosystems.

The deer reduction activity is part of a larger, ongoing initiative to improve the health of Point Pelee National Park, including planting native Carolinian species and removing invasive plants. Throughout Canada, protected areas like Point Pelee National Park have an important role to play in helping protect and restore healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk.

Visitors are asked to contact Point Pelee National Park for more information at pc.pelee.info.pc@canada.ca or 519-322-2365. For up-to-date information on park closures, please visit the Parks Canada’s website at www.pc.gc.ca/pelee.