“We present the first quantitative evaluation of the hypothesis that liberalizing culling will reduce poaching and improve population status of an endangered carnivore. We show that allowing wolf (Canis lupus) culling was substantially more likely to increase poaching than reduce it. Replicated, quasi-experimental changes in wolf policies in Wisconsin and Michigan, USA, revealed that a repeated policy signal to allow state culling triggered repeated slowdowns in wolf population growth, irrespective of the policy implementation measured as the number of wolves killed. The most likely explanation for these slowdowns was poaching and alternative explanations found no support. When the government kills a protected species, the perceived value of each individual of that species may decline; so liberalizing wolf culling may have sent a negative message about the value of wolves or acceptability of poaching. Our results suggest that granting management flexibility for endangered species to address illegal behaviour may instead promote such behaviour.”
“Because the wolf habitat in the two US states in our study does not include wilderness and consists mostly of a human-dominated matrix, our results are particularly meaningful to understand the mechanisms of coexistence between large carnivores and people worldwide [48,49]. We recommend that efforts at leniency in environmental protections are not justified as a way to prevent illegal activities unless solid rigorous evidence is provided. We conclude by stressing that many environmental policies produce both signals and implementations, which can be treated as experimental interventions with separate and possibly contradictory effects. Whether anti-pollution or anti-poaching policies are being crafted, the perception of that policy may be as important to understand carefully, as are the enforcement and compliance checks that represent implementation.” Source: Blood does not buy goodwill: allowing culling increases poaching of a large carnivore Guillaume Chapron, Adrian Treves Published 11 May 2016.
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