Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wildlife Week at the Wetland: Deer!

Spotted yesterday: "our" deer family on the move!

Did you know that white-tailed deer are relative newcomers to much of the range they now occupy in Canada? Long ago, when the first Europeans were exploring this land, this graceful mammal was found only in the most southerly parts of Canada—such as our own southern Ontario region—but not beyond Lake Nipissing to the north. The current range of the white-tailed deer in Canada is quite extensive.

What caused this change in range? Probably a combination of events, but high on the list most likely is the extent of human settlement in southern Canada, pushing deep into every corner of southwestern Ontario and pushing the deer range farther north.

Over time, southern Ontario has become increasingly urbanized, further reducing deer habitat. However, it is still possible to see them in our southern Ontario woods and bush areas. Still, between winter food shortages and the continual loss of habitat, the white-tailed deer, while having greatly expanded its overall range, has also experienced declines in population levels.

There are sixteen sub-species of white-tailed deer in North America. Only three of these species live in Canada.

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