Allow the Rehabilitation of Orphaned Bear Cubs Left Behind Due to Trophy Hunting.
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Currently our Alberta government allows the killing of bear cubs left behind by trophy hunters who "accidentally" kill mother bears for a head to mount on their wall. Bear cubs are shot by Fish and Wildlife or left to starve to death, or be victims of predators. This includes both black bear and grizzly bear cubs , as well as many other species found in Alberta.
A petition was delivered to the Legislature in March by MLA, Dr. David Swann. Albertans and people throughout the world made it clear that allowing injured wildlife to succumb to "Nature taking its course" is unacceptable.
The Alberta Environment & Parks Department, as stewards of Alberta’s wildlife, have failed in their responsibility towards orphaned bear cubs and other indigenous wildlife species. This government has failed their clear duty by omitting to provide Alberta Environment & Parks, AEP's approved “applicable protocols” that they, themselves, require before orphaned bear cubs, lynx and bobcat kittens, fox cubs, and elk calves can be rescued, reared and released back into the wild.
To quote from Alberta’s 2018/2019 Wildlife Rehabilitation Permits “…the permittee may only rehabilitate that animal in accordance with the applicable protocol that has been adopted by AEP”
To quote from Brett Boukall AEP, (3/29/2018) “As of right now, there are no approved protocols for orphaned black bear cubs in Alberta. When AEP approves a protocol for any species or updates existing ones, the wildlife rehabilitators will be the first to know.”
Does this matter? Yes, and for many reasons, but the most vital, for bear cubs is the most immediate.
The Spring Bear hunt opens on Sunday (April 1, 2018) and though it is illegal to do so, every year hunters accidentally kill female bears with cubs. The cubs are tiny, they can weigh less than a newborn baby… the hunters are up a tree over their bait barrels, so they often can't sex the bear they are shooting, nor see the cubs. This is why it is a legitimate concern for bear cubs in Alberta. This is why Alberta Environment and Parks need to complete protocols for bear cubs and the other species listed in “Schedule A”.
On this day, 3 orphaned bear cubs were found in a Banff National Park bathroom (no doubt due to the accidental killing of their mother during hunting season) and were allowed to be transported to a wildlife sanctuary in Ontario, the plan, to be rehabilitated and returned to the park this year for release. Why is this acceptable when the rehabilitation of bear cubs like Russell are not allowed, because of supposed threats to public safety? The government has no science to back this view. The government needs to act responsibly and do the right thing: complete written protocols so approved wildlife rehabilitation sites may rehabilitate the orphaned animals in accordance to the “applicable protocol”. If our Alberta government wants to allow trophy hunting to continue in our province, then they need to be responsible for the orphans who are left behind. We urge Alberta Environment and Parks to complete the protocols necessary so orphaned wildlife may be rehabilitated by a responsible organization and these orphans may be released back into the wild.
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