Wolf And Coyote Traps Are Killing Grizzly Bears

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Coauthored by: Dwight Rodtka ­ Predator Control Specialist, Alberta Agriculture (retired) and
Sadie Parr ­ Executive Director Wolf Awareness Inc.

In Alberta, the grizzly bear has been listed as a Threatened species under Alberta’s Wildlife Act since 2010, and the provincial government has implementedmanagement measures to increase its numbers.

Hunting of grizzly bears is no longer allowed, and education promoting conflict prevention and coexistence among humans has been put into action.

However, there remains one important source of bear mortality which the government recognizes but has done little to eliminate: baited killing snares set for the capture of wolves and coyotes. Grizzlies are extremely susceptible to being caught in wolf or coyote killing snares. Although there are designated areas and seasons to protect grizzlies from falling victim to snares, these are quite ineffective in protecting bears.

As per the current Alberta Guide to Trapping Regulations, trappers are allowed to set out bait piles, usually including hunter kill scraps and road-killed animals. Snares set around bait stations are neither selective nor humane, and they kill or cripple whatever may be attracted to the bait pile. Snares are also commonly set on game trails with disastrous results.

“Non-target” catches are common, and often referred to as “by-catch”. Last winter, inSundre, Alberta, a minimum of fifteen cougars, several deer, a horse, and two eagles were accidentally caught in snares set for wolves and coyotes.

In another incident investigated by Dwight Rodtka, a retired Predator Control Specialist of 38 years for Alberta Agriculture, 12-15 wolf snares set in the Rocky Mountain House area, Alberta, captured and killed, within one week: a wolf pup, a deer, an adult black bear, and an adult grizzly bear.

Current legislation does not even require the reporting of nontarget species. Unfortunately, when bears are seeking the highest amount of calories in fall to ensure survival through the winter, a stage called hyperphagia, finding a bait pile is like hitting the jackpot. When snares are set, however, finding a bait pile also means death.

Snaring wolves is considered a recreational pursuit (i.e., trophy hunting) for trappers today and a source of income. Since 2007, the Alberta Wild Sheep Foundation and other private groups have funded bounties of $300 $350 per dead wolf.

Hundreds upon hundreds of wolves are killed every year for this bounty that also causes the by-catch death of grizzly bears and countless other animals. In this new millennium, Canada has returned to the old adage of “shoot, shovel, and shut up.”

Not only is the province intentionally allowing the squander of wolves and coyotes, both of which have important roles in maintaining balance and diversity in nature, but it is also blatantly allowing harm and death to threatened grizzly bears.

Alberta’s trapping regulations have established “seasonal snaring restrictions” in an effort to “reduce the potential for accidental harvest [KILLING] of grizzly bears”.

Unfortunately for the grizzlies, Alberta’s Trapping Regulations do not seem to take in account nor know about grizzly bear behavior, as snaring is allowed in many Wildlife Management Units when bears are still active.

Many units along the Eastern Slopes, Rocky Mountain Foothills, National Parks, and farmland are open for snaring from October 1 March 31. However, grizzlies commonly den in December and are often out on the landscape again in March. In other words, snaring occurs when bears may be at risk of being captured.

Dwight Rodtka lives in Wildlife Management Unit 324 where grizzlies are common. Each year, Rodtka sees 2-7 different grizzlies on his property, usually from March 19 to December 9. Clearly, grizzlies are exposed to killing snares for no reason other than the government’s desire to kill as many wolves and coyotes as possible.

Snaring wolves and coyotes in these wildlife management units where grizzly bears are active results in the loss of animals and the further endangerment of the species.

4 thoughts on “Wolf And Coyote Traps Are Killing Grizzly Bears

  1. All conservationists should focus in getting traps off public lands. It is a barbarity practiced by way less than 1% of the population. So why cannot the other 95+ % get rid of and even hunting?

  2. Trapping is a cruel barbarity practiced by a few, less than a thousandth of 1 percent, for a commerce of fur trade and recreation. Bobcats are killed by the thousands in this unbelievable trade, and a few wolves, wolverines, plus many other animals, and many as collateral damage. It, trapping is also a danger to people and their pets. This tolerance of a 18-19th century depravity continues. As long as a species is not deemed endangered USFWS allows it. There is a treaty to somewhat control this insanity, CITIES (Convention International Trade of Endangered Species). If a species is not designated as endangered, even if threatened like the wolverine, the USFWS allows the barbarity.

    These “fur trappers” often argue that they are managing wildlife (manage means kill in trapper and hunter and state wildly few agency language) but this is maybe a more palatable argument, false of course. They will argue that it is a right and a tradition or that it is subsistence for them. It is a right and tradition to cruelly kill for profit or “sport” a right and tradition it is time to retire. It s a source of income not sustainable, not subsistence, not one the larger society should allow. Only wildlife agencies should trap for research or management, and they are bad enough. One agency, Wildlife Services of USDA is rogue, killing millions of “nuisance” animals each year for ranchers, farmers, hunters and others.

    References:
    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/wolf-and-coyote-traps-are-killing-grizzly-bears/

    http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/anti-trapping-initiative-goes-before-voters-on-nov/article

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/guest/guest-view-trapping-is-a-part-of-our-past-not/article

    What is CITES? | CITES
    https://cites.org/eng/disc/what.php
    CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild … Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and …

    Exposing the Myths: The Truth about Trapping – Born Free USA
    http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?p=53 &more=1
    Born Free Foundation
    Restraining and kill traps are most often used for commercial and recreational fur trapping as they are cheap, portable, and easy to set. Live traps are more often used by private “nuisance” animal control trappers for trapping raccoons, cats, skunks

    rapping. Although most animals who are slaughtered for their fur are raised on notoriously cruel fur farms, millions of raccoons, coyotes,wolves, bobcats, opossums, nutria, beavers,otters, and other fur-bearing animals are killed
    every year for the clothing industry by trappers.
    Fur Trapping | The Fur Industry | Animals Used for Clothing | The …
    http://www.peta.org/…/animals…/fur/...
    People for the Et

    http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/group-seeks-to-halt-us-exports-of-fur-from-bobcats/article

    http://missoulian.com/news/local/trap-free-montana-initiative-reaches-signature-gathering-stage/article

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/california-bans-trapping-of-bobcats-amid-protests-over-cruelty/

    California bans trapping of bobcats amid protests over cruelty
    by Exposing the Big Game
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-california-bans-trapping-of-bobcats-amid-protests-over-cruelty-20150805-story.html

    Trapping foes try again to get ban on statewide ballot Timothy Provow files a ballot initiative to make traps and snares illegal on public land greatfallstribune.com: http://gftrib.com/1J2Lv76
    http://missoulian.com/news/local/trapping-opponents-try-again-to-get-ban-on-montana-ballot/article

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/terrific-news-mt-governor-bullock-has-vetoed-sb-334-pro-trapping-bill/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/bald-eagle-was-found-in-a-trap/

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