It’s hard to believe, almost, that in 2016, with terms like green and environmentally-friendly bantered about constantly, and people the world over rallying for animal welfare and protection of all manner of species, that in Alberta there are still bounties on wolves.
Bounties on wolves? Yes, it does sound like a term that might have been used back when the west was being settled and pioneers had to protect what little livestock they had – to continue putting food on their families’ table.
In 2016, though, when so much lip service is paid to protecting wildlife? In 2016, when ranchers can make claims through a provincial compensation program for lost stock?
Frankly, it’s embarrassing.
We realize not all Albertans are as concerned with the plight of wildlife as we are here in the Bow Valley, but (talk about the Wild West) the fact certain municipalities and organizations can take it upon themselves to offer up wolf bounties has no place in modern times.
In recent years, sharkfin soup has come under the gun of environmentalists and led to bans of the product with an end goal of stopping the slaughter of sharks world-wide.
Around the globe, initiatives like stopping netting to save sea turtles, banning pesticide and fertilizer use in regions where it can wash into oceans and destroy coral reefs, putting the brakes on rainforest logging to protect endangered species – so much is happening in the name of creating an Earth-friendly world.
But in Alberta, there are those who are still happily slaughtering wolves in the name of livestock safety and protection of ungulates for hunting?
Worse yet, they’re killing them with budget, bargain basement snares? And here we thought trapping had moved somewhat toward enlightenment with quick-kill traps rather than cruel legholds and snares that slowly and painfully drain the life from animals.
We have no-kill, no-cage animal shelters, organizations that accept injured wildlife and nurse them to health and wildlife managers armed with dogs and other management tools to haze wildlife off our roads for the critters protection.
And we allow bounties on wolves …
Is this some sort of Little Red Riding Hood phobia? Where parents have ruined their children’s future through the reading of fairytales before bed? In 2016, are we (the collective we) still afraid of The Big, Bad Wolf?
Much like those pining for the return of a grizzly hunt in this province, we can only shake our heads at those who still believe, or want to believe, that wolves, jaws dripping with the blood of innocent livestock, are a serious threat?
Further, we wonder if this fear of wolves continues as paperwork to collect government compensation is filled out?
And beyond the bounties and needless slaughter of wolves, there is the question of collateral damage (of wildlife, not humans as in Schwarzenegger’s movie).
Leghold traps and snares, even those set with the express purpose of destroying wolves, are not discriminating. Anything (possibly including pets) that steps in a leghold trap, or is directed into a snare, will be killed – so we imagine it’s very hard to estimate the actual wildlife loss that continues to be attributed to wolf bounties.
It’s 2016 and it’s time to halt wolf bounties.