Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to RCMP Staff Sergeant Marko Shehovacs Setting the record straight in the January 25th edition of The Pioneer in which he addresses the Jeers he received regarding his collision with a bighorn sheep in December. The response from Mr. Shehovac is greatly appreciated and helps clarify some issues from the initial report.

I would like to begin by addressing the concern Mr. Shehovac has with individuals, such as me, criticizing the RCMP as a whole for the actions of an individual. I agree that oftentimes people do seize opportunities like this to condemn an entire group, and this is indeed wrong. The original Jeers that I submitted to The Pioneer clearly identified Mr. Shehovac and it was The Pioneer, out of policy and / or respect, who altered it to read RCMP instead.

I would also like to explain that my motivation in writing this Jeers came from concern for the bighorn sheep which are an iconic fixture in this valley and an integral part of the local ecosystem. As a resident of Radium, I have witnessed countless incidents of motorists threatening sheep either by speed or by simply not being patient enough to wait for the sheep to pass. While the prolific presence of the sheep on the highway may lead some to believe that the sheep are as abundant as local deer, this is not the case. There is in fact a limited number of bighorn sheep in B.C. and any loss of sheep is considered a conservation issue. It is my understanding that in the last decade the Radium herd has been as high as 200, but has been declining in recent years with last years count only reaching about 140. This decline can be in part attributed to increased predation but there have also been a number or vehicle caused mortalities.

In light of threats to the bighorn sheep, I could not but take exception to Mr. Shehovacs cavalier rendition of how one sheep caused a catastrophic blemish on his beloved truck. The humour that Mr. Shehovac injects into his RCMP report makes it an enjoyable read not to be missed, but in this instance the humour may have been misplaced. While most readers could not have known that the sheep in this case later died as a result of the collision, I did, and thus was put off by remarks such as the sheep being described as laughing and grinning, and the coffee escaping injury. I feel these remarks would be flippant even had the sheep survived.

A big cheers must also be given to the RCMP, and specifically the highway patrol in Kootenay National Park, for their increased presence in the last year. Increased enforcement is appreciated.

Dan Teleki

Radium Hot Springs