Lucky, lucky animals

Lucky, lucky animals Bison and elk, both introduced to the Yukon, are now considered "nuisance" species. Much killing needs to be done. What a great, expensive make-work project for the Department of Environment in this time of economic downturn. They

Bison and elk, both introduced to the Yukon, are now considered “nuisance” species.

Much killing needs to be done.

What a great, expensive make-work project for the Department of Environment in this time of economic downturn. They have a “bison technical team” mapping the locations of bison, radio-collaring animals, burning public money using aircraft and following and intruding on the animal’s lives. What stewards of the land! How lucky the bison and elk are to have been brought to live in this “larger than life” destination.

Hand-fed elk which walked happily into their pen last winter, and came to the fence to be fed with special medicated feed, will be hunted for the first time in their living memory. It’s a good thing the Department of Environment has such talented elk-rustlers to round them up, because the elk might be a bit more reluctant to enter the pen this coming winter, having had their herd members hunted.

The bison and elk are being hunted because they “may” have an impact on other species, even though the Department of Environment spokespeople say they don’t know what the impacts are.

Bison are being hunted from the highway, supposedly to enhance public safety by keeping bison off the road.

How can this be safe?

Bison could be frightened across the road by hunters, who will be pulling off the highway when they spot bison (causing a hazard to other drivers). It’s not really about safety, is it? It’s about making the hunt easier, so more bison will be killed this year, in hopes that the quota will be reached.

The Department of Environment is encouraging people to kill cow bison, even though the cows may have calves. All they are saying is for hunters to watch out for nearby calves. The calves may not be right beside their mothers at all times, so this is negligent. Since the department is permitting the killing of cows, in my opinion, it is responsible for any calves orphaned.

Also, the environmental impact of the hunt has not been properly assessed. The department spokespeople say they will “encourage” hunters to limit the trails they make when hunting bison with ATVs.

Seriously now, the bison won’t stick to the existing trails, so why would the hunters? Why is there no environmental impact assessment required?

I have to wonder, why is a “harvesting” (killing) plan the only kind of plan the Department of Environment seems capable of coming up with to “manage” animals?

Are they so completely lacking in other skills, techniques or imagination?

Wild animals don’t need humans to “manage” them. We need to leave them alone; they manage just fine on their own.

Wild animals have their own interests; they want their lives to themselves, free from human interests.

Mike Grieco

Whitehorse