Wednesday, May 4, 2016 



Beaver Bounty

Cash for carcasses riles activists

Animal Alliance of Canada/Wikipedia photos



askatchewan's beaver derby, ending on May 10, has a goal of killing 1000 animals. The event offers a $1,000 cash prize to the trapper who kills the biggest beaver, and offers cash prizes in exchange for bodies.

The Saskatchewan Trappers Association says the derby helps eliminate bad hunting practices and teaches others how to utilize the entire animal carcass and fur.

"This is an excuse to kill as many beaver as you can, without consideration for the animals and the cruelty they will suffer or environmental impact", says Liz White, Leader, Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada. "Killing every beaver you can find is not 'wildlife management'.  It is hard to believe that in 2016, a massive attack on a wild animal population is acceptable."

In 2011, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities introduced the Beaver Control Program, a population control project aimed at addressing environmental and agricultural damages due to "problem" beaver in the province.

"But this contest isn't about 'problem beaver'", explains Barry MacKay, Canadian Representative, Born Free USA. "It's designed to kill every beaver you can find."

Animal Alliance is urging the government to stop this killing derby and commit to environmentally progressive, safe, cost-effective, humane, and sustainable solutions in those cases where specific beavers are causing concern.

"Beavers are a keystone species, meaning that they play a critical role in maintaining or improving the biodiversity of ecosystems, and that many species, some endangered or threatened, rely on beavers and the landscapes they engineer" says MacKay. There are numerous benefits that other species, including humans, can derive from beavers - including the benefits derived from the wetlands they create, improved water quality and availability, and their contribution to local biodiversity as was demonstrated by Dr. Glynnis Hood, Associate Professor, University of Alberta.

In many cases, the most pressing issue regarding beavers is not how to manage their populations, but how to minimize conflicts with humans. There are many ways to manage conflicts effectively, humanely, and safely, while protecting beavers for the benefits they bestow to the environment.

"The economic reality is that preventative measures cost eight times less than reactive and repetitive measures, when costs otherwise buried in road, drainage, stormwater, and forestry department budgets are considered" says Shelly Hawley-Yan, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada.

As well, the public increasingly demands environmentally progressive, safe, cost-effective, humane, and sustainable solutions.

Techniques For Mitigating Human/Beaver Conflicts in Urban and Suburban Environments is available online here. It is a manual with the most current and widely accepted tools to allow wildlife managers to maintain beavers and their contribution to healthy ecosystems, while mitigating conflict and assuring public safety.


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