I was stopped in front of the grocery store last week by Andrea Smillie, WildSafeBC coordinator for the area, to ask me to answer a brief survey regarding my garbage storage, fruit tree management, and more– all questions related to wildlife attractants I have control over.
One of the questions had to do with the storage of garbage indoors (which we do). I told her, in my opinion, it is a small trade-off to pay for living in such a rich wildlife area. We all live here for the vast and wild outdoors mere steps from our doors. We celebrate the beauty of living in a region where animals roam free, where bears and elk traverse the mountains and where bighorn sheep and deer linger alongside roads and contentedly chomp foliage in yards.
Groups like the Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club are also doing their part to help keep wildlife populations healthy (see their column, which will be a quarterly feature in the Pioneer, on page 18). They are erecting waterfowl boxes in the wetlands this winter, with help in building from high school students at DTSS. They do habitat enhancement projects in the Nature Conservancy lands, and initiate discussions with private businesses to work on habitat protection measures. It is a proactive approach they are taking to ensure the wildlife population remains healthy for years to come.
In light of all these positive steps by various local groups, it makes the acts of the few who take for granted our wildlife populations even more abhorrrent. In this weeks’ Conservation Officer report (see page 4), Sgt. Milne shares about several cases of shot and left animals. He included a graphic photo we chose not to run that showed a calf elk whose tenderloins were removed in the field, with the rest left to rot.
It is a despicable act by cruel and careless hunters to shoot for the sport of it or for a few choice pieces of meat. If you are one of those hunters, I hope you think twice before shooting for fun, not food. The rest of us are working hard to manage wildlife for the enjoyment of all, not for your own killing sprees to continue.