Wolf bounties endangering species

I’m writing to voice my concerns over the proliferation of private and municipal wolf bounties in this province. Having grown up in rural Alberta, and within wolf range, I have invested a great deal of time in educating myself on the subject, including the views of competing interests. I do not feel that this practice can be called “hunting” in the normal sense of the word.

Re: Wolf bounties, Advocate, March 28, 2013.

I’m writing to voice my concerns over the proliferation of private and municipal wolf bounties in this province.

Having grown up in rural Alberta, and within wolf range, I have invested a great deal of time in educating myself on the subject, including the views of competing interests. I do not feel that this practice can be called “hunting” in the normal sense of the word.

The wolf has suffered an onslaught south of our border since losing federal protection in August 2012. With scientific evidence ignored, the wolf remains the customary scapegoat for an array of problems. Despite the efforts of biologists, documentary filmmakers, etc., there are those who seem to refuse to believe the wolf is the intelligent, sociable, balanced part of our ecosystem it has proved to be.

The hunting community at large has recognized the fervour and persecution of the wolf within its midst, and refer to the perpetrators of the extreme wolf hunt as “rabid” (E. Donnall Thomas, How Sportsman Saved the World — The Unsung Conservation Efforts of Hunters and Anglers).

Since some bounties here are funded by the Wild Sheep Foundation, I am concerned that this “unhinged American hatred of the wolf” is working its way into Alberta.

It is disappointing to read the comments of the president of the Alberta Fish and Game Association that appeared in the article run March 28, citing lots of “smiling and happy and fat” wolves. Opinions are not fact, and I ask our government to base its decisions on scientific findings. I have not heard of such a thing as a fat wolf to exist in the wild — the No. 1 killer being man, and second starvation.

The continued killings have resulted in fragmented packs with distressed youngsters lacking the skills to hunt, or in packs so small they have difficulty bringing down their normal large prey.

There is a large segment of the population, and business such as tourism, who value the wildlife of Alberta, and who care about the humane treatment of the wolf.

Limiting the number of wolves legally killed by humans is imperative as they have very little protection as compared with other wildlife.

The use of strychnine and other draconian methods of killing need to change. The government’s use of strychnine not only results in an agonizing death for the wolf, but then continues through the food chain to poison eagles, owls, and fox, etc.

Likewise, snares and traps, long outdated and outlawed in many countries, are in use in our area and known to be killing untargeted prey.

The system seems to have gone awry, with the power of our provincial Department of Environment and Sustainable Resources being undermined by individuals and special interest groups. The mindset of the authorities needs to catch up to the idea of protection of our wildlife, with reasonable limitations on kills, and considering the welfare and protection of wolves on public lands.

Wolves face so many dangers at present, and it is time for the minister of the Environment and Sustainable Resources Department to take action to curtail and discontinue to the practice of bounties on our wolves.

Anna-Marie Carr Ferguson

Red Deer

PS. Red Deerians have a new face book page for those interested in upcoming talks, etc.: https://www.facebook.com/albertawolfdefenders.