Enough is enough. That’s the message from the Fur-Bearers to the BC government — demanding the ministry responsible immediately change its policies around urban traps used to catch wildlife.
This comes after the non-profit society learned that the number of animals injured by these devices has more than doubled in the past two years.
In an interview with Daily Hive, Fur-Bearers spokesperson Michael Howie said that Critter Care Wildlife Society (CCWS) – a Langley-based rehabilitation centre for wildlife – has counted 21 cases of animals its treated, or humanely euthanized, due to trap-related injuries so far this year.
This is a jump from the 15 cases it saw in 2018, and an even bigger gap from the nine cases it saw in 2017.
Howie said these numbers don’t include incidents outside of CCWS’s range, or pets who have also been injured and killed by traps.
“People who are putting out these traps, I don’t know that they understand the damage these traps cause — they are called ‘humane,’ and that’s a big problem,” Howie said, referring to a trade agreement that Canada signed with Russia and the EU, “at no point in this trade agreement do they define ‘humane.'”
Howie said these urban traps aren’t humane and the devices leave “devastating” injuries and any animal can trigger them.
“That’s a concern for children as well,” Howie said. This, he furthered, is because there are no mandatory warning signs needed for areas where urban traps are set, so residents are at risk as well.
Howie described the injuries that animals can suffer as a result of being snared in these types of traps as “horrifying.”
The animals, he said, “get caught and they start twisting to try and get away from the trap, that’s where you start hearing about legs and other parts being broken.”
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As for the reason behind the spike in the number of cases over the past two years, Howie said it’s speculative at this point, but he’s mostly heard about raccoons, dogs, and cats getting caught by these traps.
Howie said sometimes traps are set for a “$20 pelt someone can sell, or because someone feels inconvenienced by local wildlife — there are always solutions.”
He added, “it’s pure speculation as to whether or not raccoons are being targeted or if they happen to be the ones who are setting off these traps because they are indiscriminate, anything that triggers them will cause that trap to activate and grab anything that happens to be present.”
Howie said that the Fur-Bearers is offering two separate $1,500 rewards for information leading to identification and conviction of the person(s) responsible for trapping incidents in Richmond and Port Coquitlam last week: a raccoon was found in Port Coquitlam and had to be put down by CCWS after being caught in a trap, which nearly severed its wrist, meanwhile CCWS is still trying to find another raccoon in Richmond, as it’s believed that the animal is still out there and dragging the trap attached to its body.
The Fur-Bearers calls on the province every year to update its policies by asking that it allow local governments to enact, educate about, and enforce by-laws about urban traps, and have mandatory signage so people in the area know when traps are being used, Howie said.
As an example, “people with large properties or agricultural properties will trap on their property legally, but neighbours may not know.” Proper signage could be “anywhere where people can reasonably be expected to go,” such as trails.
Province asking for your feedback around trapping policies
The province did not have a spokesperson available by the time of publication, however, it announced on Monday that it is seeking public input on hunting regulation changes, including trapping for 2020 to 2022.
It reads online that proposed hunting, trapping, motor vehicle restriction, and firearm restriction regulation changes are available for public review and feedback.
On its website the province said based on regional requirements and conditions, “the intent of these regulation adjustments is to promote the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat, as well as to optimize sustainable hunting and trapping opportunities.”
It added the proposed regulation changes give hunters, trappers, and the public, who aren’t affiliated with stakeholders, a chance to have input in the regulatory process.
The province will be collecting that feedback online from the public about proposed trapping changes until the end of January 17, 2020, and “feedback collected through the website will be used to inform final decision-making.”
The Fur-Bearers is asking anyone with information about the trapping incidents in Port Coquitlam and Richmond to contact the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.