Education on wildlife

About five years ago I came and spoke to council concerning the deer in Elkford. I had obtained all of my information on the internet, some of which came from the Sierra Club of British Columbia who works with different levels of Government and First Nations to provide science based conservation viewpoints. Most of the information I presented council had not heard of, some of which was rather basic. When council asked me where I had obtained this info I told them where to find it and also suggested that for a small annual fee they could obtain some of which I had from the Sierra Club. I was immediately told that would not happen. Council could have not only gathered scientific information concerning the deer but also why especially in the past few years we have an ever increasing population of elk, black and spirit bear, griz , wolf, cougar and yes we even had a mountain sheep cross our lawn.

We have wolves mating with domestic female dogs in heat. Last spring my son and I, for hours, protected a new born elk from a pack of coyotes. The mother gave birth to it right on the road at the top of the hill just down from the fire hall. We protected it  until we were able to re-unite it with its mother. Elkford in the past and still is referred to as the Wilderness Capital of British Columbia which would also refer to a wildlife population. The presence of a large wildlife population in Elkford is in part because of the way God created the mountain ranges and how man has built the roads which together have created a maze in which wildlife can enter but cannot find their way out of the valley coupled with the mining industry. If we take the route council has chosen, we would then have to begin killing all species of wildlife that enter our village property. Education is key to having man and wildlife co-exist.

Far too often I have seen and heard of people sicking  their dogs after the deer. This not only is against the law but dangerous for the dog, deer, motorist and pedestrians if a dog should chase a deer in traffic or toward a pedestrian. I have also observed parents tying their dogs to their childs’ stroller. If a deer has already had an encounter with a dog, it would only be natural for the deer to feel threatened. I am even more troubled that council placed in their village news letter they also considered hazing the deer with dogs even when they knew it was not legal. Again this would put people in danger with their dogs present if they encountered the deer in town or in the wild because of the hazing.

We must define what an attack actually is. Many people also believe the reason for the cougars  in town are because of the deer.  Regardless whether the deer were here or not the cougars would be here, the difference is the cougars are taking out the deer rather than your pet or small child. The deers’ role in the eco-system is vital. A few years ago council had suggested the Conservation Officers go into our schools and tell our children it was okay to throw rocks, snowballs or shoot a loaded sling shot at a deer.  First, no child should be taught how to abuse any animal by an educated adult, second this would also put the childs’ life in danger; third, a child not being a family member could go on private property shoot a loaded sling shot at a deer and blow out the windshield of a passing vehicle and a claim is made against my property insurance. I believe council later retracted this decision.

This is why it is not only imperative our council is educated but also our citizens. Education is very important for the well being of our community and wildlife. I submit this to council and the people of Elkford without prejudice.

Barbara Franklin

Elkford, B.C.