Tag Archives: fox

Humane Society of the United States exposes predator killing contests in an undercover story.

Killing to conserve a species is not conservation. The following story by Humane Society of the United States exposes the cruelty taking place in predator killing contests.

Undercover video takes viewers into grisly world of wildlife killing contests published on May 3rd 2018.

On a freezing, rainy Sunday night, cold beer flows freely at the weigh-in and judging phase of the Parlin Buck Club’s fourth Annual 24-Hour Predator Killing Contest in Barnegat, New Jersey. An undercover investigator for the Humane Society of the United States films a group of men laughing and posing in front of about 15 dead foxes hanging by their feet from a rack. Several weeks earlier and a few hundred miles away, our investigator filmed participants in the Bark at the Moon Coyote Club’s New York State Predator Hunt in Macedon near Lake Ontario, as they placed the animals they’d killed in rows outside a restaurant. About 200 animals were piled up to be counted, weighed and displayed.

These scenes of casual indifference to the suffering and death of animals are captured in our undercover investigation video of wildlife killing contests in New York state and New Jersey. The investigation was carried out in early 2018.

We’ve discussed these grisly spectacles before, where participants compete to win prizes for gathering the most animal carcasses; sadly, they happen more often than you might imagine. Our investigators’ video gives you a chance to witness for yourself what goes on at these depraved and cruel events.

The most common victims of these killing contests are native carnivores like coyotes, foxes and bobcats, but other species in the crosshairs include crows, wild pigs, squirrels, rattlesnakes, raccoons, rabbits, porcupines, badgers, skunks and even mountain lions and wolves. Countless dependent young may be orphaned during these events, left to die from starvation, predation or exposure.

While some contest organizers say the events provide a service to hunters by removing animal species that also eat deer or turkeys, there is no science to support that claim. On the contrary, it is their victims, the native carnivores they kill, who provide vital ecological services. They do so by controlling populations of other species, benefiting crop and timber growth and supporting biodiversity.

[Related: Wildlife killing contests are animal welfare and conservation disgrace]

We’re making progress in our fight to stop these horrible events. In 2014, California banned contests in which cash or prizes valued at $500 or more are offered. Colorado now limits the number of animals that can be killed by wildlife killing contest participants. In 2017, Maryland placed a moratorium on cownose ray killing contests in the Chesapeake Bay. In New York, Assembly member Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, and Senator Phil Boyle, R-Bay Shore, have introduced legislation that would end this senseless practice. In coming months, more states will put forward proposals that seek to prohibit these killing contests, and we’ll be backing them.

Last fall, we launched our toolkit, “Wildlife Killing Contests: A Guide to Ending the Blood Sport in Your Community,” which has become a valuable resource for wildlife advocates, organizations and even city governments. We have also joined with Project Coyote and 19 other like-minded local, state and national organizations to form the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests, to increase public education and to encourage policy change at the local and state levels.

To help make a difference, sign our petition calling on your state’s wildlife management agency to put an end to these cruel, pointless and counterproductive wildlife killing contests.


Check out Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s new film project about wolf advocates, “The Yellowstone Story” Yellowstone’s wolves face trophy hunters ready to kill them as soon as they step across park boundaries. Meet the wolf advocates fighting for the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves…

Watch our pitch trailer

A film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth and Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. In this clip wolf advocates share their stories. Ilona Popper is a writer and advocate for wolves. Dr. Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston Wildlife biologists and business owners of The Wild Side Tours & Treks in Yellowstone National Park. Song credits: “Don’t Know Why, But They Do” Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti & Noah Hill. B roll credits thanks to National Park Service. www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com for more information. To support the film through a tax free contribution go to https://www.planb.foundation/News/82/inside-the-heart-of-wolf-advocacy

Learn more about our film project by clicking here.

Wolves may generate cascading effects through changes in coyote distribution. 

These changes benefit hares and foxes, while also reducing the deer mouse population in some years. Journal of Mammalogy

Article Source: greatlakesecho.org Foxes join #TeamWolf versus #TeamCoyote

By Karen Hopper Usher 

It’s wolves vs coyotes vs foxes, and the effects of this competition are felt on down the food chain to deer mice, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Mammalogy

Read full article click HERE: It’s what scientists call a “mesopredator release,” Flagel said. The mesopredator (medium-sized predator) is released from the conditions that keep it in check, and the effects are felt on down the food chain.

But now the wolves are coming back and there’s evidence of cascading effects caused by their return.

It shows the reversal of the effects of coyote taking over the eastern United States, Flagel said.

“What we’re seeing here is gray wolf recovery can benefit small carnivores and rabbits and hares by changing or redistributing coyotes, and also deer mice decrease in some years,” Flagel said.

This isn’t the first study that has looked at the impacts of wolves on our ecosystems, said David MacFarland, large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “But anything that adds to enhanced understanding is beneficial as we’re making management decisions.”

And it’s not just wolves that are coming back in the upper Midwest, MacFarland said. Bears are also more common than they were.

“Large carnivore communities are doing better than they have in the past hundred years,” he said. Meanwhile, large carnivores in other parts of the world are in “significant peril.”
Scientific reaction to the study has so far been positive, Flagel said. He’s been presenting his findings at wildlife conferences.

Flagel’s team was the first do a study like this at such a fine scale, Flagel said, and that’s important because that’s where the wolf, fox and coyote interactions are happening. 


Featured image by John E Marriott

Wild animals in ragged condition

By Michelle Ustipak on Oct 28, 2016 Source
Have you ever seen a wild animal with missing fur and crusty skin? Did you wonder what caused it to be in this ragged condition? The answer is mange. We field many questions about mange at Wildwoods.

Mange is the general name for a skin disease in mammals caused by parasitic Demodex or Sarcoptes scabiei mites. Sarcoptes scabiei mites are more commonly seen in wildlife species. Sarcoptic scabiei is host-specific, which means if the mite transfers onto a different species than the one it originated, it cannot complete its life cycle. A mite from a squirrel will not be able to fully propagate on the body of a fox. This also means if a mite from an animal is transferred onto a human, that person may feel itchy for a few days, but the mites will eventually die and the itchiness will resolve.

Mange causes severe itching, hair loss and the formation of scabs and lesions. The mites burrow tunnels into the skin where the female lays her eggs. The eggs will hatch and through multiple molting’s turn into adult mites. This process takes about two to three weeks. The burrowing from the mites damages the skin, which causes excessive irritation to the animal. It will scratch the affected areas, creating further damage as the wounds are repeatedly reopened. The skin will become thick and crusty as it constantly tries to heal.
As the disease progresses, the mites continue to multiply and the animal becomes increasingly lethargic. Their bodies and immune systems become compromised, which makes it easier for a secondary infection to set in.
Red foxes are particularly susceptible. Every year Wildwoods receives phone calls about beloved neighborhood foxes that have missing fur and seem weak and tired. Often times the foxes will appear to have lost their fear of humans. The fox is so miserable it no longer has the energy to react as it normally would. With the hair loss, the ability to regulate body temperature is also compromised. As a result, the foxes will be out in the open attempting to absorb heat from the sun or will curl up against a wall to find shelter from the wind and other elements.
In the more advanced stages of mange, the eyes can become almost crusted shut due to the amount of irritation caused by the mites and often there will be a secondary infection. With compromised vision the fox is unable to hunt well, if at all. When Sarcoptic mange is left untreated it only takes two to three months for a fox to become so debilitated that the secondary effects of the mite infestation will cause death.
Mange can be treated depending on the severity of the case. We usually need to start off by providing subcutaneous fluids. Maintaining hydration is critical in emaciated and ailing animals. We manage pain with medication, start a course of antibiotics and begin anti-parasitic treatment. We provide them with a healthy diet to get their weight back up. The enclosure has to be disinfected regularly to ensure there are no residual mites in the environment that could reinfect the animal. It takes anywhere from four to eight weeks to recover from mange and for the animal to grow back an adequate amount of fur before they are ready for release.
Please call Wildwoods at (218) 491-3604 if you suspect a fox in your neighborhood has mange. You can also help by not feeding the foxes in hopes of limiting the spread of Sarcoptic mange and other diseases. When people feed wildlife, it attracts a higher number of animals to a small area. Animals that would not otherwise interact then come into contact with each other. If just one infected fox comes to feed, it puts the health of all the other foxes who also visit that area at risk.
Michelle Ustipak is the Wildlife Care and Education Coordinator at Wildwoods. She moved to Duluth in 2015 from Minneapolis where she had been gaining experience in wildlife rehabilitation at The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota and The Raptor Center.
Wildwoods is a 501(c)(3) wildlife rehabilitation organization in Duluth. For information on how you can help wildlife, including volunteer opportunities, visit wildwoodsrehab.org, call (218) 491-3604 or write to P.O. Box 3161, Duluth, MN 55803.


Featured image of a wolf with mange in Yellowstone National Park

Advances made in wolf deterrents

Local rancher claims state-sponsored killing isn’t needed

Source Idaho Mountain Express

    If ranchers around the West don’t make more use of nonlethal deterrents to predation on livestock, they risk losing access to the public lands they need, a conservation-minded sheep rancher said during a presentation on the subject last week in Ketchum.
    At The Community Library on Thursday, Brian Bean, co-owner of Lava Lake Lamb, described the tools and techniques provided to ranchers by the Wood River Wolf Project, which seeks to save the lives of both livestock and wolves. The project was begun nine years ago by the group Defenders of Wildlife, but was handed over last year to the nonprofit Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation, of which Bean is a co-founder.

In 2014, the Idaho Legislature created a $400,000 fund to pay for lethal control of wolves preying on livestock, which is carried out upon request by Wildlife Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That fund was reauthorized in 2015 and 2016. In addition, using money provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state compensates ranchers for at least half the value of livestock lost to wolf depredation.

    Bean said the ease by which ranchers can obtain free lethal control actions reduces their motivation to try nonlethal deterrents first.
    “The system is set up to make it so easy to kill predators,” he said.
    However, he said that system may be contrary to ranchers’ long-term interests as the public becomes less tolerant of predator control.
    “There’s a much greater risk of public lands disenfranchisement than they believe,” he said.
    To motivate ranchers to use those deterrents, the Wood River Wolf Project makes free “band kits” available to the five sheep operators who graze their animals on Sawtooth National Forest allotments, along with free instruction.
    “We make it as easy as possible for the ranchers, so they don’t have any reason to say, ‘No, I don’t want to use these nonlethal tools,’” said project Coordinator Avery Shawler in an interview.
    The 10 band kits available contain numerous items to scare wolves, including about a dozen flashing Foxlights, air horns, a starter pistol with 200 rounds of blank ammunition and small cylindrical boom boxes. The Wolf Project also provides “turbo fladry”—red flags strung along a solar-powered electrified wire to surround the outside of a band of sheep at night, as well as sleeping bags, pads and tents for herders to sleep with the band when it’s at too high an elevation to pull their camp trailer up.
    Bean said the mostly Peruvian herders enjoy being with the sheep and don’t want to see them killed.
    He said use of nonlethal deterrents has contributed to a reduction in wolf depredation on Lava Lake Lamb herds from several per year to one event every two or three years, as well as to fewer sheep being attacked each time.
    “For us, we feel that it won’t be necessary to use lethal control, and for anyone who takes time to learn nonlethal [deterrents],” he said.
    In about 2012, the Wood River Wolf Project was the first entity in the United States to use the Foxlights, a product invented by Australian sheep rancher Ian Whalen. The lights, set up among a band of sheep or other domestic animals, flash at random intervals to mimic humans walking around with spotlights that they are pointing in various directions while guarding their animals.
    Whalen attended the presentation Thursday, which was intended primarily for him to demonstrate his product.
He said that in Australia, the main predator of sheep is red foxes, a non-native animal brought to the continent by the British to provide sport for hound hunting.
“Since then, they have decimated many of our small [native] creatures,” he said.
Whalen said ranchers have traditionally used 1080 poison and night shooting to kill foxes. Still, he said, they often found dead lambs in the morning.
    “Quite clearly, it wasn’t working,” he said.
    Whalen said that while he was lying in bed one night feeling too lazy to go outside and scare off foxes, it occurred to him that maybe he could set up lights that just made it look like he was out there. His first idea was to use the red flashing lights set up to warn drivers at road construction sites. He tried that, and it helped, he said. The he went to an electrical engineer and asked him to design a light that flashed randomly and switched from white to blue to red. He wanted the lights to come on automatically when the sun dims and shut off at dawn. Thus was born the Foxlight.
    Whalen said that due to his invention, he hasn’t killed a fox since 2006.
    The Foxlights come in two versions—a solar-powered light for $129 and a battery-powered one for $89 for use in forested areas with little sunshine.
    Whalen said he’s sold about 30,000 Foxlights in Australia—as few as one light to people who just want to guard one chicken coop to as many as 60 to a rice farmer having problems with large flocks of ducks eating his crop.
    Whalen said experimental use in the United States indicates that the lights are effective against coyotes and mountain lions, but they haven’t been tried with bears. He said the Foxlights don’t work against coyotes or other predators living in urban areas that are accustomed to seeing lots of lights.
    Bean said the Foxlights are one of the top two or three tools that the Wood River Wolf Project uses, though he emphasized that effective deterrence requires the use of numerous approaches.
    “One of the things you have to accept with these intelligent canid predators is that they will become habituated,” he said.
    Whalen said the lights have been used in Nepal to deter predation by snow leopards, and, for a while, in Pakistan.
    “The Pakistani Army confiscated them all on the theory that they might be some kind of landing system for drones,” he said.
    Recently, he has donated lights to wildlife-conservation projects in Africa. He said the lights have proven effective at deterring lions and leopards, though not jackals.
    In Mozambique, he said, the lights are being used as part of a project by conservationists to keep elephants and hippos out of the local villagers’ vegetable gardens and predators out of livestock corrals. In Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls, the lights play a similar role to help maintain the wildlife that draws tourists.
    “That makes me proud,” he said, “that my little baby is doing something for the wider world. Overall, I don’t know how far my lights are going to go.” Source


A solar-powered Foxlight is intended to fool predators into thinking that humans are up and about at night around a band of sheep.


Featured image: Wood River Wolf Project 

Some common sense advice for coexisting with wildlife.

Here in Wisconsin north woods springtime, like in Vermont, can bring out the wildlife.  The following article has some common sense advise on living around wildlife habitats.

Carol Smith got an unexpected visitor at her home in the Fox Hill Condos off Cottage Club Road in Stowe recently. A black bear prowled around her yard and even climbed up the railing to her porch before sauntering back into the woods. Smith said she had removed her birdfeeder, as advised by state wildlife officials, but it did not prevent the curious bear from snooping around her property.

Source: Brushes with wildlife make people nervous
By Kayla Friedrich | Stowe Reporter

April is one of the best times of year to see and hear wildlife in Vermont, with the waterfowl returning, spring peepers chirping in the ponds at night and animals coming out of hibernation.
Unfortunately, those animals can spur conflicts with humans, as they are frequently out during the day looking for food.
“So we have a coyote problem,” Mary Collins — an Elmore resident — said on Facebook March 13. “Earlier this week, Don was spreading manure and saw a coyote out by our brush pile — far from the house, by the riding ring. This evening, the coyote was standing just beyond the manure pile, just yards from the barn and him. It was not frightened in the least. Does anyone have any ideas about what we should do? I’m concerned.”
The coyote has since left Collins’ property of its own volition, but the incident incited a litany of responses from her friends and neighbors about what she should do. Shoot it? Leave it alone? Does it pose a threat to the animals, and could it be rabid?
A few weeks later, residents of Waterbury posed similar questions about a wandering skunk that was seen on a number of properties during the day.
Wild animals “live around us all the time; we just don’t see them,” said Eric Nuse, a retired game warden in Johnson. “It’s a hard thing, coming off of winter pretty hungry, and because they are hungry, they are often bolder than normal. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are sick.”
Foxes and skunks are the biggest rabies threats in Lamoille County, and Nuse recommends that people watch wild animals from a distance to determine whether they may be rabid. If they look suspicious, anyone can call the rabies hotline at 800-472-2437 to report the sighting.
The signs of rabies can differ depending on the animal. However, generally an animal with rabies will be unstable on its feet, may have paralysis in some of its limbs or its throat, and nocturnal animals may be more active during the day.
Some daytime activity is normal in nocturnal animals, though, especially when they are feeding their young this time of year.
Unprovoked aggression is usually seen in skunks, foxes, raccoons and dogs that have contracted rabies, while rabid bats usually exhibit unusual friendliness, and may be unable to fly. That can be dangerous for children, who are more apt to touch a wild animal than adults.
If an animal is trapped for suspicion of rabies, the animal has to be killed, because the only way to diagnose rabies is to test the brain tissue in a lab.
“Before picking up the phone to call a trapper, think of ways to cohabitate with wildlife or convince them to move on on their own,” said Brenna Galdenzi, executive director of Protect our Wildlife, a Stowe nonprofit. “There haven’t been many cases of rabies in Lamoille County in the last few years, and there weren’t any reported in 2014 or 2015.”
Over the last five years, Lamoille County has had 14 cases of confirmed rabies, nine of them in 2012. There were no cases reported in either 2014 or 2015, but two cases have been reported in the area so far this year.
A rabid big brown bat was trapped in Stowe just last week, April 14, and a rabid raccoon was picked up in Waterbury back in February. The majority of the rabid animals in Lamoille County have been raccoons and skunks.
“If we get a call that an animal is acting strange,” said Bob Johnson, state public health veterinarian, “the decision is usually made to test the animal if it has been in contact with other animals or humans.”
The Vermont rabies hotline is 1-800-4-RABIES, and information about positive rabies tests can be found at bit.ly/Rabiesdata.
Tips for living with wildlife
Coyotes are one of the most maligned animals in Vermont, according to Galdenzi. There is an open season on coyotes in the state, and it’s not curtailed during breeding season.
Pups are generally born in late April or early May, remain in the den for two months, and follow their parents throughout the fall and winter to learn from them.
Coyotes have adapted to live close to humans, and they sometimes do have conflicts, but people can do things to discourage coyote behavior.
Some people opt for livestock guardian dogs — pastoral dogs bred for the purpose of protecting livestock from predators — or even guard llamas. Llamas are instinctively alert and will walk or run toward an intruder, and chase or kick it. Some llamas may also herd the animals they are guarding into a tight group or lead them away from danger.
Electric fencing can also be a deterrent.
Skunks don’t generally bother livestock, unless they get scared and spray, but there are also ways to curb their behavior.
“Skunks come out in the spring, and they have their babies in April or May,” Galdenzi said. “So, you have to be careful when calling a trapper, because if trapped, the babies will not survive without the mother.”
One way to deal with skunks on your property is to make their den unlivable. If people shine a bright light into the den during the night or play loud music, the skunks will likely move out on their own and find a new place to live.
Galdenzi had a skunk living under her deck, and her husband used those tactics to coax it to leave. After three to four days of lights aimed at the den, and a stereo playing on the deck, it was gone.
“Protect our Wildlife will help people with those types of things,” she said. “A lot of animals are out at dawn or dusk right now — don’t be alarmed; they are foraging for food. People fear what they don’t understand, and a lot of it is embedded in not being knowledgeable.”
Bears and bird feeders
Because animals are foraging for food more right now than any other time of year, Vermont law states that residents must take reasonable measures to protect their property from animals, especially bears, before lethal force can be taken.
Just recently, two bears got into the Dumpsters at Brewster River Pub in Jeffersonville, and strewed garbage everywhere.
“Bears can pose a threat,” Nuse said. “So, people should get food sources under cover, especially bird feeders. If you used to feed the birds, bears have a great memory, and will remember where feeders were in the past. Bears also love chicken food — they are not necessarily after the chickens.”
Bird feeders and Dumpsters are just two of the things that can attract hungry bears. Others are pet food, campsites with food left outside and barbecue grills.
People can protect themselves against bears by keeping chickens and honeybees secured inside electric fencing, storing trash in a secure place, and feeding pets indoors.
“Animals are the least wary of people this time of year, because they are hungry,” Nuse said. “It’s a good time of year to see wildlife; people just need to use common sense.”


Foxlights is a non lethal predator deterrent device that is saving lives around the world

Foxlights Night Predator Deterrent

 “It is my belief Foxlights have the potential of assisting in the saving of many endangered species around the world.” ~ Ian Whalan

Ian Whalan is a sheep farmer from Austrailia. He invented Foxlights so he could sleep through the night, because it was too bloody cold out there to check on the sheep.  Before he invented Foxlights, he had no choice but to go out to scare off the foxes using flashlights.  He noticed that the foxes would run away from the lights.  In other words, this was where Ian Whalan got the idea to invent Foxlights in 2008.

Watch the following  Foxlights introduction video 

Foxlights mimic a human patrolling crops or livestock at night to keep predators away. 

Foxlights are helping livestock producers coexist with snow leopards 
“As these numbers indicate, snow leopards sometimes have a taste for domestic animals, which has led to killings of the big cats by herders. These endangered cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings, and due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.”(Source: National Geographic)

Watch the following video of how Foxlights are being used for snow leopard conservancy in Nepal

Video Published on Jan 27, 2015! Shortened version of snow leopard conservancy video showing how Foxlights are being used in Nepal

Foxlights are saving lives in Africa

Foxlights has the possibility to protect endangered animals. This tool is an inventive way to keep animals such as elephants and lions away from crops and livestock. This type of protection is new to Africa and has the potential to change the way people protect this type of endangered predator.”  ~Ian Whalan 

Watch the following video on how Foxlights are helping farmers keep African elephant out of their crops

Foxlights in Ireland are saving lives
Foxlights are saving lives in The USA

In Wildlife and Wolves, A Guide to Nonlethal Tools and Methods to Reduce Conflict by Defenders of Wildlife discusses How Foxlights stops human-wary predators from approaching, read on:
“A new device called the “Foxlight” avoids easily detectable patterns so that night predators do not quickly become accustomed to it. The Foxlight uses an intermittent series of lights in varying, random flash patterns to simulate human activity, such as someone moving a torch around, which stops human-wary predators from approaching.
Foxlights are still being tested in the field, but their effectiveness for reducing livestock losses appears to be short-term (30 days or less). Like other deterrents, Foxlights and similar devices may work best as a temporary deterrent or in tandem with other deterrents. Evidence also suggests that they may be more effectively used proactively to prevent predation rather than reactively to deter an ongoing problem.”  (Source)


Foxlights saving lives in California 

In the workshop Ranching With Wildlife Building Sustainable Communities, Preserving our Heritage flier, Project Coyote discusses how Foxlights are used successfully around the world, read on:  

Project Coyote Photograph
“Foxlights deter nighttime attacks by mimicking the appearance of a person patrolling pastures with a flashlight. Their dusk-to- dawn solar-powered sensors randomly flash LED lights at 360 degrees and can be seen up to a half mile away. Foxlights have been used successfully around the globe to protect livestock and crops from a variety of species including snow leopards, wolves, elephants, foxes and coyotes. Foxlights attach easily to existing fencing and are best placed where livestock bed down at night.” (source)

Contact information for Foxlights


Address : 7/22-24 Sarsfield Circuit

Bexley North, N.S.W. 2207, Australia

Phone : +61 29150-9509

Foxlights Shopping & Retail on Facebook
Fauna Tomlinson believes in the bright idea of saving lives with lights so much that she is helping to distribute Foxlights around the world. You can reach Tomlinson faunahoop@hotmail.com or 530-386-3311 
 rachelfoxlights@gmail.com Let’s see what happens when Wisconsin begins using the 25 Foxlights they just purchased. I’ve been in contact with them and will keep track of how they are working to save the lives of wolves.  ~Rachel Tilseth 

USDA Experiments With New Tool To Deter Wolves Foxlights Latest Method To Keep Wolves Away From Livestock click the blue highlighted words to read full story. 

Animals caught in snare traps take hours or even days to die.

 Wolf culls ensnared in ethical debate (Source)

A groundswell of critics believe the century-old method of trapping animals should be done away with, writes Mark Hume

For more than two decades, Gilbert Proulx has spent countless hours in an enclosed wooded compound, monitoring foxes as they hunted rabbits and squirrels, then setting what he thought were the perfect killing snares on the foxes’ favoured pathways.
But the wildlife researcher, who has been looking for more humane ways for trappers to capture animals, said that when his perfectly set snares were sprung, they rarely caught the foxes in a way that would quickly bring death.
“If you want to have a perfect kill, you have about a one-centimetre target zone right behind the animal’s jaw,” said the science director for Alpha Wildlife Research & Management, a consulting firm based in Sherwood Park, Alta. “But hitting that is like waiting to win Lotto 6/49 – we found it was impossible,” said Mr. Proulx, whose studies have proved that snares rarely work the way they are supposed to.
His first study on snaring foxes was done in 1990, but in a paper published last year, he says little has changed and he is now calling for snares to be phased out.
“A killing neck snare is more cruel than a leg-hold trap,” he said in an interview. “I find this is really, really wrong and inhumane [technology].”
The snare is a primitive but lethal device that has been used by trappers for more than a century in Canada. But because of research by people such as Mr. Proulx, whose studies show snared animals face slow, painful deaths, snaring is coming under intense scrutiny in B.C. and Alberta, where controversial, government-sponsored wolf culls are under way. The provinces aim to reduce predator populations (annually by about 80 in B.C. and about 300 in Alberta) to address the impact of wolves and coyotes on ranchers’ livestock, on declining woodland caribou herds and on big-game species valued by the guide-outfitting industry. And trappers argue that snares have become more humane over the years, and are more economical to use.  [to read more click HERE]

Dr. Gilbert Proulx, Director of Science, Alpha Wildlife Research Management and wolf researcher, holds a snare for catching wild animals, in Sherwood Park, Alta. JASON FRANSON/FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

North Woods Living, Tips for ‘Coexisting with Your Wild Neighbors’

Living in the north woods near wild animals can be a wonderful experience. There is nothing that can match sighting a

Life in the Northwoods photography by Michael Crowley
Life in the Northwoods photography by Michael Crowley

bobcat with kits, a doe with a new fawn, snowy owls, bear, swans, and porcupines.  If you have chosen to live in a north woods rural area, here are a few tips for living along side wildlife or better yet, methods for coexisting with your wild neighbors. After all, these wild creatures you have chosen to live among were here first. Living along side wildlife requires respecting their habitat and teaching them how to respect yours as well.

In the news this week in rural norther Wisconsin.

Bill Lea photograph
Bill Lea photograph

Bears have been coming to close, Grantsburg Village Board and Wisconsin DNR took the first steps toward formulating a plan.  It is unfortunate that this plan calls for lethal methods as a way to solve the problem between wildlife and humans. Has there been any measures taken to prevent these bears from coming into the village limits?

There are non lethal methods that north wood’s residents can use to deter wild animals..

  • Keeping your pets safe.

First of all, do not leave pets or their food outside. Leaving pets and their food outside will attract wild animals.  Keep your pets leashed or in a fenced area while out-of-doors, Do not leave pets unattended out-of-doors for long periods of time.

  • Don’t feed wildlife.
Industrious wild bear (photographer unknown0
Industrious wild bear (photographer unknown)

Wildlife can fend for themselves and know where to find their own food. Do you need to feed wild birds? Why do you feed wild birds? Bird feeders are for humans more than wild birds. Humans feed wild birds for the pleasure of viewing them. But these viewing backyard bird feeders attract more than wild birds.  Wild bears enjoy an easy meal off of a backyard bird feeder. Deer, raccoon, and squirrel will also find the backyard bird feeder tempting. Feeding wild birds can result in wild animals becoming habituated to humans. When wild animals become habituated to humans it can have disastrous effects. Imagine stepping outside to feed the birds and you encounter a sow with cubs. Everyone knows how this encounter could turn out.

Other concerns for  do not feed the birds including it may delay migration or changing birds habits.

  • Wild animals are attracted to garbage and gardens.

it is recommended to keep your garbage out of sight and smell of wild animals.. keep your garbage cans in a locked bear proof shed. If you have a garden just fence it in or even use an electrical fence. Even garden compost will attract wild animals.

  • What to do when you encounter wild animals in your backyard.

Assuming you have done all of the above methods to keep wild animals away from your home and family.  The next step is to teach wild animals, bear, coyote, bobcat, cougar, and wolves to fear you, Wild animals have a natural fear of humans. If you live where these wild animals do, then teach them to fear you. This is the best way to keep them out of your backyard.

Photograph of a wild coyote by Ron Niebrugge
Photograph of a wild coyote by Ron Niebrugge

Always keep a safe distance between you and any wild animal that has wondered onto your property. Use a loud device as a deterrent, such as a blow-horn, or fire crackers to scare these unwanted intruders away. Never throw these devices at or on the animal. The idea is to deter not to harm them.

Another wild animal deterrent called hazing which will teach them to fear you. Again, it is recommended to keep a safe distance away from any wild animal you encounter.  Hazing method involves making yourself larger than the wild animal by waving your arms and shouting at the wild animal saying, “go away coyote!”

Other methods of hazing you can use are pepper sprays and a blow-horn is a very good deterrent to keep on hand. You may need to use these deterrents several times to make the unwanted wild animal get the message. Wild animals have a natural fear of humans and you may need to remind them of this natural fear.

There may be times when a wild animal could be dangerous. If the wild animals appears skinny and unhealthy or stumbles this could be a sign of Rabies. In this case stay away from the wild animal. Call local law enforcement. While you wait for them to arrive keep tabs on the whereabouts of the infected animals from a safe distance.

In summary, wild animals have a natural fear of humans. Living along side of wildlife requires keeping space between their habitat and yours.   In other words, educate yourself on how to safely live with your wild neighbors.

Feature photograph is by Michael Crowley of Life in the Northwoods