Another View: Fences protect wildlife and livestock

Comments on the importance of protecting all animals

You may have seen it online. A moose in a grocery store in Smithers. The bears relocated from Sooke. Or the three cougars killed in Sooke. The latter had a lot of local attention, with over 3,500 people seeing our Facebook posting.

Outrage, sadness and disappointment at killing such a beautiful animal dominated the online response. Interestingly, there seems to be a notable absence of attention given to human responsibility in proactive prevention.

Cougars are not euthanized (or killed or slaughtered or whatever term best suits) because parents are concerned for their children, or because lap-dog owners love their shiatsu, or because people are plain-old mean. Nor are they euthanized by blood thirsty conservation officers (COs) who have nothing better to do than wait for the call to kill.

Cougars are euthanized when they become habituated to a community.  They are predatory animals, and the thought of sharing Sooke’s loosely defined notion-of-a-sidewalk with habituated cougars is an uncomfortable one. Especially when the cougars are hungry and trained to eat what we eat.

Cougars instinctually avoid humans, and rightly so. We’re not that nice, not even to each other. The only reason a cougar comes into our space in the first place is for the ready availability of food when their’s is sparse.

Our first strategy in minimizing human-wildlife conflict is prevention: Stop the cougars from coming into our community in the first place.

Fencing is one idea. Electric fencing is recommended. It keeps livestock safe, and it prevents wildlife from fine (and easy) dining. Ultimately, replacing livestock can be more costly than paying for an electric fence.

Hazing is another. This is where you harass the animal until it decides to move on. It must be continuous, concentrated (ideally where the cougar lives or preys) and caustic (effectively bothersome). A good method of hazing cougar is to get a livestock guard dog, like Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherds, Akbash or Maremma. (Keeping in mind that a dog is a for-life commitment.)

Don’t plant plants that attract deer, an enticing food source for cougar.

And don’t feed your house pets outside, as both (pet food and pets) are also a enticing food source for cougar.

What about relocating?

Relocating a displaced cat is a great idea, but only for a Disney flick. In real life, if you take an old cat who has been displaced from her own territory by a younger, stronger cat, and drop her into another cat’s territory, you have sentenced her to a fight-to-the-death. Same if you do that with her kittens: they will be mauled to death.

Yes (sigh), we are in their territory. Ever since Eve and Adam screwed up horribly and got kicked out of their apartment in the sky, we humans have made a nasty habit of spreading our tendrils. But somehow, culling the human race, as appealing as it may appear at times, strikes me as an unviable option. After all, without a dense human population, who will cover the interest payments and taxes?

The number one takeaway message all of us should be receiving loud and clear from this incident quite simply is: Do not feed the wildlife.

Britt Santowski

Britt Santowski is a reporter with the Sooke News Mirror.

news@sookenewsmirror.com

Just Posted

Sixty Sooke homes needed to host Japanese students

Homestay program offers visitors a taste of life in Canada

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in downtown Victoria for Extinction Rebellion climate protest

The rally is the kickoff to the Global Climate Strike Week of Action

Church bells to ring for 11 minutes in support of Global Climate Strike

Each minute to signify years left to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution

Hundreds of foreign species continue to wash along B.C. coast following Japanese tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Lone wolf eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

SOOKE HISTORY: Remembering Sooke’s 1953 soccer team

Elida Peers | Contributed When Milne’s Landing High School opened in 1946,… Continue reading

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Sixty Sooke homes needed to host Japanese students

Homestay program offers visitors a taste of life in Canada

Most Read