Grande Cache animal lover ‘devastated’ after bear cub euthanized by provincial officials

Groot, a grizzly bear cub discovered by a highway near Grande Cache, was destroyed after a local animal advocate turned it over to provincial wildlife officials. ORG XMIT: nkDgueFEGHZbedIRnR4d EDMONTON

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A Grande Cache animal advocate is distraught after an abandoned grizzly bear cub she nursed back to health was destroyed by provincial wildlife officials.

“I was absolutely devastated,” said Brandy Gienger of the Grande Cache Animal Society. “I was heartbroken when I passed him over to the fish and game officers because I knew that he was going to be euthanized.

“I knew that (they) were just telling me what I wanted to hear so they didn’t have to create a scene with someone.”

On May 3, a work crew informed Gienger of an abandoned bear cub along Highway 40 near the Sheep Creek Bridge. The animal society called Alberta Fish and Wildlife, who told Gienger to leave the animal because its mother was probably out hunting.

The bear was still there among the rocks three days later. On the fourth day, the cub was gone, so Gienger assumed it had been picked up by its mother or fish and wildlife.

One day later though, someone called to say the bear was still in the same area by the highway. That evening, they went to collect the cub, who they decided to call Groot.

An Alberta wildlife rescue organization said it would work to rehabilitate the starving animal, and instructed Gienger how to care for him. Gienger kept him in a dark kennel to keep him from becoming habituated to humans, and fed him goat’s milk, which the famished bear cub loved.

Groot, a grizzly bear cub discovered by a highway near Grande Cache, was destroyed after a local animal advocate turned it over to provincial wildlife officials.  EDMONTON

By Thursday, they were ready to send the bear to the rescue centre when they got a call that conservation officers were on their way to collect him.

Gienger said she was reluctant because the bear was hours away from heading to a rescue. But she was assured the officials would “take the best interests” of the bear cub and take care of it.

On Friday morning, an apologetic provincial official told Gienger that the bear had been destroyed because he was severely dehydrated and his organs had stopped functioning properly. That ran counter to what Gienger had seen.

In a statement, Alberta Environment and Parks officials said steps were taken to find a facility that would accept a grizzly bear for permanent care, such as a zoo. However, they were unsuccessful, and said they had no choice to euthanize the “emaciated, dehydrated, lethargic” bear which was “near death.”

“This was a very sad situation, but unfortunately, officials felt the most humane thing to do was to limit the animal’s suffering,” the statement reads. “The decision to humanely euthanize this grizzly bear cub was not made lightly.”

Alberta recently approved a rehabilitation protocol for orphaned black bears, the statement added. However, the “rehabilitation requirements for grizzly bears are different, often requiring specialized care for a longer period of time.”

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Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers kill grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache

http://vancouversun.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/alberta-fish-and-wildlife-officers-kill-grizzly-bear-cub-near-grande-cache/wcm/c9e89eb7-ce69-4b71-b3be-08da476d40ca

A rescued grizzly bear cub is seen in this undated handout photo. Concerns are being raised about Alberta’s new policy on rehabilitating bears after a grizzly cub was killed by Fish and Wildlife officers this week. Two women rescued a grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache this week after watching it for five days to see if its mother would return for it. KYLA WOOLLARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

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GRANDE CACHE, Alta. — Concerns are being raised about Alberta’s new policy on rehabilitating orphaned bears after a grizzly cub was killed by wildlife officers this week.

The province lifted a ban on private rehabilitation of cubs last month, but it only applies to black bears.

Two women rescued a grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache this week after watching it for five days to see if its mother would return for it. They went down to the area on Wednesday to check on the bear and found it emaciated, weak and starving.

“We brought it home and fed it some goat’s milk,” said Brandy Gienger, who’s with the Grande Cache Animal Society.

They had two rehabilitation facilities that were willing to take the bear, which they named Grout, but provincial wildlife officers showed up Thursday and took the cub away.

Woollard said they were told Friday that the bear has been put down by the officers.

“They just destroyed him,” said Gienger. “I’m devastated. I am absolutely disgusted with this.”

“They didn’t give him a chance at all.”

Officials with the province said in a statement that they tried to find a zoo that would accept the bear under permanent care, but they weren’t able to find one.

“The bear was emaciated, dehydrated, lethargic, and near death and specialists did not believe it would survive,” said the email. “To limit the bear’s suffering, the bear was euthanized.”

Gienger said the bear was responding well after being fed the goat’s milk.

Her friend, Kyla Woollard, said they’ve heard from the province and hope officials can change the orphaned bear policy to include grizzlies.

“I’m still upset at the fact that something that was so innocent had to lose its life,” she said. “When they passed the law to rehabilitate black bears, I feel like they should have made a law to rehabilitate all animals.”

The province recently approved the orphaned black bear protocol, but they said in their statement that every animal is different.

“The rehabilitation requirements for grizzly bears are different, often requiring specialized care for a longer period of time,” they said in the statement.

Grizzly bears were listed as threatened in Alberta in 2010 when it was determined there were only about 700 left. The numbers led to a recovery strategy aimed at reducing the number of deaths caused by people.

–By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton

SCIENCE MATTERS: Curbing industry’s methane emissions gives Canada a leading edge 

click to enlargeVIA THE DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION

  • VIA THE DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION

Canada has taken a major step in cleaning up its oil and gas sector. We’re the first country to commit to methane emission regulations for the industry, marking an important shift toward climate protection.

The new regulations help uphold a major plank in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, under which Canada committed to cutting oil and gas industry methane pollution by 40 to 45 percent over the next eight years. The policy represents the most significant contribution to holding industry accountable for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

Why is this a big deal?

Methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases. Over a 20-year period, it’s 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a climate pollutant. Scientists estimate it’s responsible for 25 percent of already observed disruption to Earth’s climate, so reducing it has been prioritized as a top global climate solution.

The oil and gas industry is the largest emitter of methane here and in many countries. That’s why the federal regulations are so important and why they must be strictly enforced.

Last year, the International Energy Agency reported that the oil and gas industry emits about 76 million tonnes of methane worldwide every year. It also found 75 percent of those can be easily reduced, and about 50 percent could be reduced at no net cost, or even for a profit because industry can sell the captured gas.

Drew Nelson—a leading world expert on methane and the Environmental Defense Fund’s international affairs director and a former U.S. climate negotiator under the Obama administration—told the David Suzuki Foundation Canada’s role is important: “Reducing oil and gas methane emissions is the single most effective action we can take to prevent the warming of our climate today. If every country around the world followed Canada’s methane reduction lead, it would have the climate impact of closing one-third of the world’s coal-fired electricity plants.”

Canada must act because scientific evidence shows the problem is bigger than claimed.

Peer-reviewed research from the David Suzuki Foundation and others confirms that federal and provincial governments and industry vastly under-report our oil and gas industry’s methane emissions. Research published last year by the Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University found methane emissions from B.C.’s oil and gas industry are at least 2.5 times higher than industry and government report.

Solutions are at hand. Cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is one of the least expensive, most effective ways to address climate change. If industry cleans up leaking methane, it will create jobs and save the very resource it wants to sell. Yet many in industry, even with economic benefits, are reluctant to fulfil their climate responsibilities, so we need government intervention.

For the new federal regulations to be effective, government must hold provinces accountable for meeting or exceeding the benchmark. But provinces are going in different directions on how they will shrink methane pollution. Some are proposing concessions to the oil and gas industry that, if enacted, would result in fewer emissions reductions and create imbalances across the country.

The B.C. government, on the other hand, is positioning itself as a leader. It has committed to extending the carbon tax to methane emissions, as outlined in its 2017 confidence and supply agreement. But industry pressure to enact weak regulations could also occur in B.C.

B.C. should seize this opportunity and implement strong provincial regulations, apply the carbon tax to methane emissions and create jobs in oil and gas to clean up the industry.

With these federal regulations, the B.C. government has a clear responsibility: to set the gold standard for climate protection as citizens, communities and industry work to reach our country’s climate targets while modernizing our economy.

It’s been a long time since B.C. led North America on climate with its groundbreaking approach to building a cleaner economy through the carbon tax — an approach that has shown results. The province now has a chance to lead again by setting the course for national efforts. The test will be whether the federal government can remain firm in the face of industry opposition and require provinces to achieve verifiable progress to shrink methane pollution consistent with Canada’s Paris Agreement climate target.

———

Science Matters is a weekly column on issues related to science and the environment from David Suzuki, written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. Learn more at davidsuzuki.org.

Two men fined $2,000 for hunting violations

One of the men is accused of firing twice down a roadway at a moose in the direction of a blind corner

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bull moose adobestock_93928765 2017

Stock image

NEWS RELEASE
MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND FORESTRY
*************************
Two Spencerville men have been fined a total of $2,000 for hunting offences under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Steven Hopkins pleaded guilty and was fined $1,500 for unlawfully discharging a firearm on a travelled roadway.

Barrie Crawford pleaded guilty and was fined $500 for unlawfully possessing an illegally killed bull moose.

Court heard that on Oct. 16, 2017, Hopkins and Crawford were hunting on the Warren Carty Road near Foleyet when they observed a bull moose walking on the road.

Hopkins exited the vehicle and, while standing on the roadway in front of the vehicle, fired twice down the roadway at the moose in the direction of a blind corner. Crawford, who was driving the vehicle at the time, attached his game seal to the moose.

Justice of the Peace Nathalie Breton heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Chapleau, on April 11, 2018.

To report a natural resources violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours.

You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). And visit here to view an interactive, searchable map of unsolved cases. You may be able to provide information that will help solve a case.

Ellen DeGeneres is ‘hurting northern livelihoods’: Angry Inuk

http://aptnnews.ca/2018/04/12/ellen-degeneres-is-hurting-northern-livelihoods-angry-inuk/

http://aptnnews.ca/2018/04/12/ellen-degeneres-is-hurting-northern-livelihoods-angry-inuk/

An Inuk artist and filmmaker is calling out a Hollywood celebrity for spreading ignorance about the seal hunt.

“Unfortunately the Ellen Show is still making statements that affect Inuit livelihoods and food security,” said Alethea Arnaquq-Baril on Twitter.

“I am an Inuit seal meat eater, and my fur is ethical, humane.”

Arnaquq-Baril produced the documentary “Angry Inuk” in 2016 to show the damage inflicted by anti-sealing groups supported by people like DeGeneres.

The groups protest the seal hunt every spring. In fact, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) held such a protest in Toronto Wednesday.

Earlier this week, DeGeneres celebrated on Instagram that India was banning sealskin.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhNG0TjgZoi/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=8&wp=400&rd=aptnnews.ca#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A12541.100000002189%7DArnaquq-Baril says the online opposition spoils a special time of year for Nunavummiut who look forward to warmer weather, longer daylight and the opportunity to hunt whales and seal.

“You see another big anti-seal hunt campaign and another massive celebrity supporting their campaigns and it’s like a punch to the gut,” she said in an interview.

“At this time of joy in our lives it’s always tainted every year by anti-seal hunt protests. Every year.”

APTN News messaged DeGeneres and The Ellen DeGeneres Show for comment for this story and did not receive a response before deadline.

NitraQueen@NitraQueen

@TheEllenShow it is violence against indigenous peoples to call for ending seal hunts, especially if you have no first hand knowledge if the lived experience

Seal is a staple in the Inuit diet and way of life.

Arnaquq-Baril, who’s posted a photo of herself wearing sealskin clothing on Twitter, says it’s one of the few resources left that Inuit can hunt, eat and use to make money by selling the skin or using in art or jewelry.

They might get $50 a skin now when they used to get up to $200, she added.

While that shrinking value may cheer DeGeneres and PETA, Arnaquq-Baril says celebrities should get all the facts before they champion a cause.

Denise Balkissoon

@balkissoon

What’s the origin of everyone talking about this today?

Alethea ArnaquqBaril@Alethea_Aggiuq

India banned sealskin and @TheEllenShow tweeted in celebration. She knows damn well Inuit are the most affected by anti-sealing campaigns and seal product bans.

She says many vegans and vegetarians have apologized for their stand against seal hunting after watching her documentary she has screened around the world.

“When they see the film I’ve never had someone come up to me and say a horrible thing afterward,” she said.

“They understand that we live in a very different part of the world and it’s important for us to continue eating seal meat, wearing sealskin and selling it.”

Beatrice Hunter@beatlhunter

So I’ve stopped watching @TheEllenShow since she’s tryna stop the seal hunt.

Hunger and poverty is also part of life in Nunavut, where many families struggle to buy high-priced groceries shipped up from the south. And there are few good jobs.

APTN has documented these social conditions in several stories, including Wasting Away and Article 23.

As well, Arnaquq-Baril says there’s an element of racism in the anti-sealing campaign – whether animal rights groups and their supporters recognize it or not.

“To think that their food is normal and ours is weird and shouldn’t be eaten – that’s racist,” she said.

“Billions of hamburgers are eaten every single day when they choose to target Indigenous people.”

DeGeneres first spoke out against the seal hunt about 10 years ago. Some Inuit fought back online by posting photos of themselves with seals known as ‘sealfies’.

Since then, Arnaquq-Baril says DeGeneres must know her anti-seal words and actions are hurting real people. And because of that Arnaquq-Baril has decided she is no longer a fan.

“That’s willful harm onto Inuit communities,” she said.

  1. Hi I agree with Ellen actually my dream is that no more animal killing I’m a Animal lover period I DO NOT EAT MEAT animals they hve every right to be in this world without fearing for ttheir lives!
    Animals are very intelligent !
    I sent money every month to the wildlife. Animals hve no voice but I am their voices and blv me I will still fight for saving theses beautiful creatures!!!

    God bless to Ellen
    I’m on your side

Coyotes get a bad rap

expert tells Parry Sound Nature Club Coyote Watch Canada hopes to change perception through education COMMUNITY Apr 02, 2018 by Cathy Novak Parry Sound North Star

Coyote watch <https://dynamicmedia.zuza.com/zz/m/original_/1/5/15d75dc9-737c-48e1-9c55-d12c72068e26/EDT_PS_Nature_club_Super_Portrait.jpg>

Coyotes get a bad reputation according to an official from Coyote Watch Canada. April 2, 2018. – Coyote Watch Canada

PARRY SOUND — The Parry Sound Nature Club was privileged to host a presentation by Lesley Sampson of Coyote Watch Canada at their meeting on March 21 at the West Parry Sound District Museum.

The meeting room was filled to capacity — seems coyotes and the chance to learn about coexisting peacefully with them is something many are interested in. Sampson opened her presentation with a beautiful photo of a coyote and the quote, “How you see me is but a mere reflection of you.” Coyotes have caught a bad rap in the past, and one of Lesley’s missions is changing perceptions through educating, engaging and empowering the public to foster respect, acceptance, and compassionate coexistence with these incredible animals.

The Eastern Coyote is a member of the canid family which includes foxes, wolves and dogs. Genetic testing has shown that there is a great degree of mixing of coyote, wolf, and dog DNA, but genetics and DNA really don’t have much bearing on the ability to coexist and minimize conflict. There are many myths about coyotes that Sampson enthusiastically and rationally dispelled. Coyotes do not abandon their pups — they are devoted and diligent parents. Coyotes do not lure dogs away — coyotes are curious and may come close to investigate, but when a dog chases them, they run away … and the dog often follows! Coyotes seen during the day are not ill — coyotes can be active all day, and the young, especially, are very curious and mobile. There is really no difference between coyotes and coywolves — it’s a matter of infinite degrees of mixing of DNA. It’s a myth that foxes and coyotes do not share the land — this is false as they often live in the same territory. The yipping sounds that they make do not mean that they have killed something — coyotes have many reasons to vocalize and a wide repertoire of sounds. Coyotes do not stalk people — it’s usually just a matter of following you (especially if you have a dog with you) out of curiosity, or because they have been fed by others and are hoping for another meal (they learn very quickly, especially when it comes to food). Many folks wonder if coyotes are dangerous. According to statistics, the top three animals for causing death to humans (in order) are farm animals, bees/wasps/hornets, and domestic dogs — coyotes did not make the list.

Coyote Watch Canada has a four-cornerstone approach. Investigation — a critical step in determining the facts of the situation to decide on the correct response. Education — get the right information out to the public. Enforcement — promote enforcement of local bylaws that assist in reducing negative interactions between humans and canids (for example: leash laws, property maintenance and garbage disposal, etc.). Prevention — using deterrents and aversion conditioning to reduce interactions and redirect coyote behaviour.

In the Niagara area where Sampson works with Coyote Watch Canada, sightings are recorded and mapped to determine and monitor coyote “hot spots.” Response teams can then be dispatched to investigate, assist with aversion conditioning, and educate the public on how to coexist with coyotes and reduce problem interactions. The sightings maps can give a snapshot of coyote ecology and seasonal changes, and connect data with ‘citizen science’.

Sampson presented some brief facts about the general ecology of coyotes. The more we know about our neighbours (in this case, anyway), the easier it is to get along! Coyotes mate for life and breed in late January/early February. They share pup-rearing duties. The male will deliver food to the female while she is nursing and can’t leave the den, and once the pups are weaned by six weeks of age, both adults will feed the pups. It is not uncommon for older siblings, aunts and uncles to help with rearing pups. Coyotes communicate by vocalizing and make a wide range of sounds. Coyotes can breed in their first year, and have a gestation period of 62-63 days. They are “fossorial” — they den underground, and often have multiple den sites. They are diurnal, generally most active at dusk and dawn, depending on habitat. In a stable territory, the alpha pair may have litters ranging from two to 10 pups, with the average around six. This sounds like a lot, but 70 per cent of pups die in their first year. Coyote sightings often increase in May and June — the alpha pair will be quite active, as both are out hunting to provide food for the growing pups and themselves, and the pups themselves are out of the den and learning to hunt.

Coyotes are a keystone species for healthy ecosystems, so coexistence is a much better approach than eradication. They are adaptive, intelligent and resourceful. They have a varied diet but mostly eat rodents (up to 70 per cent of their diet) and are excellent mousers, as well as being “nature’s cleanup crew” by eating roadkill and other carrion.

Sampson talked about the “High 5 for Safety” when encountering a coyote (or other animal). Stop — pick up small children or dogs; stand still — take a moment to assess and think about what’s happening, don’t react rashly; shout and wave your arms — scare it away; slowly back away — maintain eye contact and don’t run; share the experience — report the sighting to Coyote Watch or other authority.

To minimize negative interactions between coyotes and people, especially people with dogs, there are important points to remember. Always keep your dog on a leash in areas known to be inhabited by coyotes or other wild canids. In 92 per cent of dog/coyote interactions, the dog was off-leash. Dogs should never be allowed to chase any kind of wildlife; besides the harassment to the animal, your dog may lead the animal right back to you! Bag up and carry out all dog poop. Be aware of the season and what coyotes might be up to at that time of year — denning, mating, raising pups. Report intentional feeding and attractants such as garbage, along with any sightings to Coyote Watch or your municipality.

Sampson provided a thorough, fascinating and engaging education on coyotes to the Parry Sound Nature Club. Her genuine concern and passion for these animals coupled with her first-hand experience and knowledge make her the ultimate advocate for coyotes. Those in attendance at her presentation came away with a better understanding of how to coexist with these wonderful animals. For more information, check out the Coyote Watch Canada website at http://www.coyotewatchcanada.com.

The Parry Sound Nature Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month. Please join us for the next meeting at 7 p.m. on April 18 at the West Parry Sound District Museum. Guest speaker will be Alanna Smoleraz about her volunteer experience in the Seychelles, Africa, with Wildlife ACT. During her time there she got to see and work with various birds, fish, terrapins, giant Aldabra tortoises and, of course, sea turtles. She will share what she learned, and what she was able to contribute to the various wildlife and conservation projects there.

https://www.parrysound.com/community-story/8367729-coyotes-get-a-bad-rap-expert-tells-parry-sound-nature-club/#.WsP59DniGu4.twitter

hunters fined $2,000

 

Two Sault Ste. Marie men were fined a total of $2,000 for an illegal deer hunt.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry received a complaint about two men hunting illegally on St. Jospeh Island in October 2016.

An investigation found Cameron Tucker and Evan Thorne were hunting a white-tailed deer when Tucker shot and killed a buck deer without a licence. The pair took the deer to a nearby camp to process. Tucker repeatedly gave false information to a conservation officer, a release says.

Tucker was fined $500 for unlawfully hunting a deer without a licence and $500 for obstructing a peace officer.

He was also handed a two-year hunting prohibition in addition to a three-year ban for another hunting offence.

Thorne was fined $1,000 for unlawfully possession an illegally killed deer.

Justice of the Peace James Bubba heard the case in Ontario Court of Justice in Sault Ste. Marie on Aug. 9.

We Were Right about Snow Geese and We’re Right about Ross’s Goose, Too

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/weblog_canada.php?p=6342&more=1#more6342

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative

Published 03/16/18

Ross's GooseRoss’s Goose
Drawing by Barry Kent MacKay

In front of me is a small booklet with the catchy title, A Critical Evaluation of the Proposed Reduction in the Mid-continent Lesser Snow Goose Population to Conserve Sub-arctic Salt Marshes of Hudson Bay. It was published by the Animal Protection Institute (now Born Free USA) and the Humane Society of the United States in 1998, and co-authored by biologist Vernon Thomas and me.

The arguments we made failed to stop the U.S. and Canada from enacting an absurd increase in bag-limits and open seasons and the use of electronic decoys for hunters after the “lesser” snow goose, which breeds in the mid to western arctic. The geese had undergone dramatic increases in numbers. For reasons too complex to address here, it was feared they’d damage large parts of the arctic ecosystem by their habit of “grubbing” – pulling plants out by the roots when feeding. They were called “overabundant,” a term that is entirely in reference to subjective value systems.

What bothered me then, and what bothers me now, is the lack of scientific rigor in the documentation presented to defend the vast increases in hunting kills proposed and enacted. References to previous high numbers of snow geese were misrepresented or ignored.

We made several predictions, and in the two decades since then, we’ve been proven correct. Put simply, one prediction was that the proposed hunting increase wouldn’t work. It didn’t. We predicted that the real threat to arctic and subarctic ecosystems came from global climate change. That is proving to be true, too.

But, governments and the public trust wildlife management types have made something out of a career out of alarmist rhetoric about the population “explosion” in these geese, and in the Ross’s goose. Sadly, they are believed. Ross’s goose is a smaller version of the snow goose and was apparently once reasonably abundant (it’s hard to know as early observers tended not to distinguish it from the snow goose), but had become endangered by the early 20th century, and is now again common, perhaps more so than ever before. The Americans have already been shooting extra numbers of this species and, although we were able to slow Canada down, years ago, now it has again proposed an increased bag limit for Ross’s goose.

I have written to the Canadian government in opposition to increasing bag limits for this small goose. Beyond a “natural” tendency people attracted to wildlife management have to “manage,” to control, nature, what I think was behind the original concern two decades ago can be seen here. Numbers of hunters were in freefall, and it’s hunting that justifies so much of the wildlife management profession and pays the expenses and salaries of wildlife management professionals.

But, not only are increasing numbers of people taking pleasure from viewing and photographing – but not killing – wildlife, even many who dohunt refuse to kill more than they can eat, and, as we predicted, just knocking the top off the population curve allows high numbers of these species to continue.

Keep Wildlife in the Wild,
Barry

B.C. veterinarian wants 2,900-km wildlife death trap removed

Collapsed, 100-year-old Yukon Telegraph line believed to be killing moose across north

  •  Feb. 27, 2018 9:30 a.m.
  • A B.C. veterinarian hopes public anger over an illegal spate of wildlife snaring in the northwest will invigorate her mission to eradicate a much larger, potentially deadlier threat to wildlife.

“This is an underdog problem. It’s not a popular cause like animal abuse and neglect, but it’s a clear case of animal cruelty without anyone being deliberate or intentional. It’s just a consequence of what humans have left out in the wilderness.”

Dr. Veronica Gventsadze is speaking about the 100-year old Dominion Government Telegraph Service line, a network of five-millimetre iron cables snaking through 2,900 kilometres of wilderness from Ashcroft, B.C. to its termination point in Dawson City, Yukon. Known as the Yukon Telegraph, this logistical marvel of its time connected the gold fields of the north to southern Canada.

The line was abandoned in the 1940s and 50s as wireless technology advanced.

But the galvanized cable was of such high quality it still shows no sign of corrosion or breakage today. As the original poles collapse, and trees topple, the cable either sags to the forest floor or lies in tangles beneath moss and foliage, creating a perfect trap for moose and, further north, caribou.

“A bull moose crashes through the forest with his antlers, and that’s it. That’s how he gets around,” Gventsadze says. “There must be a tremendous amount of anguish not being able to free himself [from the wire], possibly lying there exhausted, hungry—he’s live prey for a bear. The wire is like nothing found in nature, so the moose not having a chance to escape or protect itself is a completely unnatural situation.”

The Squamish-based veterinarian began a grassroots campaign to see the line removed in June, 2016, during an otherwise-regular visit to her Rosswood cabin in the Nass Valley, near Terrace. Her husband was picking lobster mushrooms when he stumbled across a one-kilometre stretch of the fallen line. He counted the corpses of three moose in varying stages of decomposition, she says.

“This is grizzly bear country, so the moose will be dragged off pretty quickly. We don’t know how many have been there before.” Since her husband’s discovery Gventsadze has found other sites along the Stewart branch of the telegraph service.After being told last year there was very little Conservation Officers Service could do in the matter, Gventsadze contacted the Terrace office again last month upon reading news reports of a prolific and intentional snaring operation in the Kitimat River Valley, which the COS is still investigating.

Speaking to Black Press at the time, CO Sgt. Tracy Walbauer said evidence of dead moose, grizzly bears, wolves and coyotes had been found in the illegal snaring.

“Those animals observed in the snares endured a great deal of suffering before death,” Walbauer said.

READ MORE: Public’s help sought in cruel and prolific animal snaring

READ MORE: $1,000 offered for conviction of snaring culprit

Based on photographs, Gventsadze is certain the snare wire was cut from the telegraph line. She says she also once found a snare intentionally fashioned directly within a tangle of telegraph cable on the ground. Though of minor concern compared to the thousands of kilometres of unintended hazard to wildlife, the snaring connection she says only deepens the telegraph’s deadly post-use legacy.

While a remediation project of this magnitude does not fit within the budget and mandate of the COS, CO Zane Testawich told the Terrace Standard he hopes to offer some community-level support in the spring, possibly by organizing a cleanup of the Rosswood site identified by Gventsadze’s husband.

In the meantime, neither provincial or federal departments have returned Gventsadze’s calls of who is responsible for remediation.

Andrew Gage, staff counsel with West Coast Environmental Law, says finding a legal avenue to force remediation will be difficult on a project initiated by the fledgling Dominion Government in 1899. Political pressure may be the only way forward, he says.

“These sites do get cleaned up where there’s particular health concerns and public outcry over them, but there’s a lot that don’t get cleared up without that pressure.”

Gventsadze admits the costs of a remediation project on this scale would be large, but hopes elected officials will see it as an employment and skills-training investment for northern communities.

This was the case in Northwest Territories, where in 2015 a program partially sponsored by the federal government led to the removal of 116 kilometres of telephone wire from a Second World War pipeline project in the Mackenzie Mountains, along what’s now the Canol Trail. The program was renewed the next year, and a further 126 km of wire was removed, along with 27 racks of caribou antlers tangled within it, according to Northern News Services. The project was completed in January this year, seeing 80 tonnes of wire remediated from more than 350 kilometres of terrain. Indigenous and Northern Affairs said a key element of the program was to provide local workers with training in project management, field operations and occupational health and safety.

In Yukon Territory, the Carcross Tagish First Nation spearheaded the Southern Lakes Wire Recovery Project in 2015. In this case, the wire belonged to the same Yukon Telegraph line at the centre of Gventsadze’s concern.“It is still a very unrecognized problem,” she says. “But once people start talking about it, others will probably come out of the woodwork who have been making local efforts to remove these lines themselves.

“Just because we can’t witness these moose suffering and dying, it doesn’t make their deaths any less acceptable.”

Dr. Gventsadze has set up a petition for the cleanup of the Yukon Telegraph line at change.org.


 

 

https://www.agassizharrisonobserver.com/news/b-c-veterinarian-wants-2900-km-death-trap-removed/

4 elk illegally shot and killed on private property without permission

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/4-elk-illegally-shot-and-killed-on-private-property-without-permission-1.4432517

The bodies of the animals were abandoned, while a fifth elk was wounded and left alive

By Andrew Kurjata, CBC News Posted: Dec 04, 2017 7:17 PM PT Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017 9:47 AM PT

Conservation officers near Hudson's Hope, in northeast B.C., are investigating after four elk were illegally killed by men shooting from a public road onto private property without permission.

Conservation officers near Hudson’s Hope, in northeast B.C., are investigating after four elk were illegally killed by men shooting from a public road onto private property without permission. (Conservation Officer Service of British Columbia)

Four elk have been illegally shot and killed on private property without permission.

The bodies of the animals were abandoned, while a fifth elk was wounded and left alive.

The incident occurred Sunday evening north of Hudson’s Hope, in northeast British Columbia, said acting Sgt. Brad Lacey of the Peace Region Conservation Officer Service.

A property owner in the area heard “a number of shots being discharged” at around 5:30 p.m. MST and went out to investigate, Lacey said.

The owner found a group of men shooting at the animals from the road and confronted them, at which point they got into their vehicles and left.

A limited-entry hunt for elk is currently occurring in the region, but Lacey said it’s not known if the men were licensed.

Investigation underway

Even if they were, he said, their methodology was illegal.

“Evidence at the scene would indicated that the hunt occurred on a maintained roadway, which isn’t allowed,” Lacey explained.

Additionally, the elk were on privately-owned land, and the owner did not give permission for the men to hunt there.

Elk in the region, which belong to the subspecies Rocky Mountain elk, are not considered at risk, but Lacey said it is still problematic for them to be killed without permission.

“There’s a public safety concern for any firearms being discharged on a maintained roadway,” he said.

Lacey said the dead elk will be maintained for evidence and then, “if the carcasses remain suitable for human consumption, they’ll be utilized by a local food bank.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the service at 1-877-952-7277.