- Trapped in the Past
- Yellowstone Wolves
- Social This Month
- Introducing Jessica
As 2022 begins, so does our Trapped in the Past documentary pre-production. Our fundraiser for #GivingTuesday went extremely well (thank you to all of you that donated) and we are now well into the planning stages, working toward our first few weeks in the field in early February filming with co-founder John E. Marriott and one of the interviewees from Episode 11 of EXPOSED, Choking to Death: Killing Canada’s Wolves with Neck Snares, Craig Comstock. Craig is the one that found the live wolf in the snare in Kananaskis Country three years ago today that spurred this entire campaign and he will be an integral part of this documentary going forward as a researcher, writer and interviewee.
The goal of the documentary and the Trapped in the Past campaign continues to be working toward a complete ban on the use of snares for commercial and recreational trapping, as well as modern, ethical, science- and traditional knowledge-based updates to all trapping regulations for fur-bearing mammals, particularly large apex predators like wolves, lynx, bobcats and wolverines. If you would like to help us achieve these goals by donating or volunteering, please visit our website at www.exposedwc.org
Google ‘hunters kill 20 Yellowstone wolves’ and you’ll find dozens of high-profile articles like this one in USA Today, highlighting how the Phantom Lake pack and other park wolves have been decimated by hunters when they have roamed outside of the flagship national park’s boundaries this winter. Park officials said in a statement to AP that the deaths mark “a significant setback for the species’ long-term viability and for wolf research.” The Park superintendent Cam Sholly, has called for an immediate end to hunting and trapping on the park’s borders, but to date the calls have fallen on deaf ears.
While this news is making major headlines in the U.S. and around the world, here in Canada killing unlimited wolves and other predators on the edges of our national parks is status quo. Did you know that trappers and hunters in Alberta can kill as many wolves as they want to? There is no bag limit during the 9.5-month hunting season (pregnant wolves, lactating wolves and even wolf pups can legally be shot and killed in the province) or during the almost 6-month trapping season. Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are not much better, with huge swaths of those provinces also allowing unlimited killing of predators like wolves and coyotes.
So how can we change this? A great first step is making the use of killing neck snares illegal, and that is EXACTLY what our Trapped in the Past campaign is gunning for (pardon the expression). But our EXPOSED team is also working behind the scenes toward promoting changes at the regulatory level in Canadian provinces. We’d like to see bag limits for both hunting and trapping introduced, predator hunting seasons shortened, and a host of other smaller changes. And perhaps as much as anything, we want to see concepts such as Carnivore Conservation Areas take seed.
Carnivore Conservation Areas were first introduced by scientists working for and with Parks Canada in Banff National Park in the 1990s – the idea behind them is that Carnivore Conservation Areas would be vast wild areas that would put the conservation of apex predators/large carnivores at the top of the priority list. Banff National Park actually implemented a few small-scale CCAs in the late 1990s, for instance, shutting down/setting aside the Spray Valley behind the Banff Springs Hotel from April to October every year so that wolves, bears, cougars and wolverines could roam the valley without human interference.
Imagine now taking this concept and broadening it to form large CCAs, big enough to house healthy source populations for our large carnivores, much like what Dr. Mark Elbroch has been advocating for in what he calls ‘cougar refuges’ in his new book, The Cougar Conundrum. These would be huge swaths of land where predator hunting and trapping would be banned or severely restricted, allowing natural processes to take place between predator and prey. These would not necessarily even have to be in protected areas like Banff National Park, though it does make sense to have at least one large CCA that includes our Rocky Mountain national park complex and add buffer zones on to it to enlarge the CCA and make it truly viable for large carnivore protection. This concept could then be used in places like Yellowstone, northern British Columbia and more, provided it got buy-in from First Nations and government. Industry, recreation, sustenance hunting and more would all still be allowed in these CCAs in areas where they are currently allowed, it would just be a restriction on predator hunting and trapping to allow for areas where large-scale predator-prey interactions could unfold more naturally. This would help ensure large areas where biodiversity would be kept more intact.
Follow along in the coming year as we begin to develop this concept further within the Conservancy.
If you aren’t following us yet on Instagram or Facebook, here’s why you should this month: we’ve got upcoming posts and articles on “wolf lover/granola cruncher” Alberta rancher Joe Engelhardt, who has found a better way to protect his livestock from predators than shooting them, as well as posts on Montana’s first Bearsmart community, on Endangered Species legislation in B.C., and on biodiversity and what all these fancy terms actually mean!
We would like to introduce Jessica Barham as the newest member of the EXPOSED team. Jessica has spent the majority of her life exploring the outdoors. From a young age, she was always fascinated by nature and sought ways she could connect with it. This included hiking and biking through our mountain forests, swimming in our oceans and lakes, geocaching for treasures and spending time with as many animals as she possibly could. Always maintaining her wanderlust spirit, Jessica continues to explore the places less travelled with her two pups, Ollie and Bella, as she feels there is endless value in connecting with our natural world again and again.
Having a natural passion for the conservation of Canada’s wilderness through her childhood experiences, Jessica found herself working closely with wolfdogs as an adult, where she formed deep and real connections with these highly misunderstood animals. Seeing the treatment their wild counterparts currently face, Jessica knew she needed to do more. When she discovered what our Conservancy was doing and the difference we have been making, she immediately connected with our mission and goals.
Jessica joins our team to put her diverse skills, education, and professional background in the business side of the nonprofit sector to work, helping to make a positive, lasting and meaningful impact on Canada’s apex predators.
As mentioned above, we're big fans of Dr. Mark Elbroch's latest book, The Cougar Conundrum.