Letters to the editor
Osoyoos mayor in a flap
Sep 4, 2013 / 4:23 pm
In response to your August 28 news item, “Osoyoos mayor has animal group in flap”, I believe your readers would benefit from a more complete picture of the actions taking place to deal with urban-wildlife conflicts.
Osoyoos Mayor, Stu Wells is simply the latest example of municipal leaders who are becoming frustrated with wildlife management. A recent 2013 survey of municipalities across Canada shows that human-wildlife conflict is becoming more problematic and that a national strategy with a wider range of wildlife management tools is needed.
APFA Executive Director, Lesley Fox states that: “Our communities need funding and support for education programs to increase people's tolerance and understanding of wildlife behaviour." That in fact is already happening.
The wildlife department of every province, including BC, has educational information on their websites related to the importance of wildlife and for dealing with wildlife conflict issues. In addition, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and its member SPCA's have information on their individual websites with pamphlets for distribution at their animal shelters; as does the Canadian Association for Humane Trapping and a number of conservation groups. Furthermore, the commercial animal control companies that deal with wildlife problems have similar information on their websites.
So it is not so much a problem of educational information about wildlife in and of itself, the problem is what precisely to do about human-wildlife conflicts that are increasingly on the rise on farms, in suburban communities, in cities and towns and "in my backyard".
I certainly agree that municipalities “need a long-term wildlife strategy” but it needs to be one that is inclusive and not restrictive as Ms. Fox proposes. As the former co-ordinator of Environment Canada’s humane trapping program I can assure your readers that banning or severely restricting the appropriate and legal use of lethal methods, when required, will create problems for municipalities and over-populating wild animals in the long-term and will do nothing to address the root of the problem. Instead, increased training and professional industry standards will be essential over the long term to accurately assess specific local and regional issues and design appropriate non-lethal and lethal solutions.
Recognizing that APFA opposes hunting and trapping and, according to their website, actively campaigns to “fight the fur trade”, their recommendations are not only driven by a “hands-off” philosophy but they are also unrealistic in dealing with the growing challenges posed in co-existing with wildlife. Public safety, animal welfare, sustainable solutions and a reasoned approach are what we need to strive for in any wildlife strategy.
NRJ Technical Services for Trade & Animal Welfare
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