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Aggressive photographers disturbing Delta wildlife

The city is working on solutions to address the ongoing complaints
barn owls in delta, bc
A concerned resident recently urged Delta to post more signage and step up patrols to discourage aggressive photographers from disturbing wildlife.

The city continues to receive complaints about photographers disturbing birds and other wildlife in sensitive areas.

Delta council recently received another letter from a concerned resident, this one claiming many eager photographers were spotted harassing barn owls at the foot of 72 Street at the Boundary Bay dyke.

A follow-up letter claimed some could be seen bringing their own ladders to cross a ditch to get closer to the birds.

A staff response notes Delta has been actively working with the province and Metro Vancouver on the issue of harassment of wildlife within Delta’s Wildlife Management areas.

The city earlier this year requested the province issue a regional order to prohibit the harassment of wildlife within wildlife management areas in order to allow for more active enforcement by provincial officers.

That letter by the mayor was written following complaints about aggressive photographers harassing wildlife at the Brunswick Point portion of the Roberts Bank Wildlife Management Area.

The staff memo notes that Ministry of Forest, Natural Operations and Rural Development staff are working on new signage in collaboration with the regional district and Delta staff.

It will include information related to the harassment of wildlife by people and their pets.

The memo also notes staff from Delta, Metro and the province all conduct patrols in sensitive areas within their respective jurisdictions to increase public awareness of the sensitivities of wildlife and habitat, as well as address undesirable behaviours.

Delta staff will follow-up with the province on the proposed new signage and enforcement efforts.

As far as the specific complaints about photographers at 72 Street, that has been reported to the Conservation Officer Service.

Earlier this year, city council agreed additional patrols should be added during the summer to make sure people aren’t allowing their off-leash dogs to disturb the wildlife in the foreshore area of Boundary Bay.

A staff report noted the area has a large intertidal zone at low tide, which increases the challenges related to enforcement of those who let their dogs run freely off-leash.

The jurisdictional boundary of the foreshore area also contributes to the enforcement challenge, the report explained.

“Unfortunately, a number of regular users in the Boundary Bay area are aware of the jurisdictional boundaries and in the absence of on-site patrols by provincial officers, take advantage of low tides to walk their dog off-leash in the foreshore area,” the report noted.