According to the CBC and other sources, Calgary Police were the first to arrive on scene. Their role was simply to monitor the situation and try to keep the cougar confined to one area. The wildlife officials, who were not on shift at the time, had to come to the area from towns as far as two or three hours away.
Reports indicate that wildlife officials believed the cougar to be too excited to be successfully tranquilized, and lethal action was required.
WARNING: This video is graphic and will be upsetting to some viewers
We’re calling BS on that one, Alberta.
If the wildlife officials had been able to get on scene faster, the poor cougar wouldn’t have been chased around for several hours – thus exciting it. If wildlife officials had a true presence in the province, a live trap – often used for large mammals like cougars and bears – would have been an option. In short, if the wildlife services – which the union says is down from over 120 individuals to under 100 across the province – was properly staffed and funded, this tragedy could have been avoided.
Particularly with the rapid growth of major cities like Calgary, it is becoming more and more evident that the role of wildlife officials needs to be increased.
It is time to raise our voices. We want the Ministry of Justice and the Solicitor General (who has control over fish and wildlife officials) to increase funding and training to the front line workers. We want that Ministry to provide training and tools to urban police services who are often the first – and best able – to respond to wildlife conflicts. We want peaceful co-existence – and our voices will be heard.
Use our sample letter below or write your own and contact MLA Jonathan Denis, Minister of Justice and the Solicitor General – as well as your own MLA in Alberta – and demand an increase in funding, training and oversight.
The upsetting incident of a cougar being brutally shot in Calgary on September 18, 2014, was entirely avoidable. Your Ministry, in its role to protect public safety, must properly train, fund and equip wildlife officials and municipal police services to appropriately and in a timely manner respond to incidents of wildlife conflict.
With the ongoing growth of city centres, more wildlife conflict can be expected. Please, act now, before more animals must be killed in such a brutal manner.
As a taxpayer and voter of Alberta, I urge you to take action. If you do not, myself and other animal loving Albertans will take action against you and your party in the next election.
(Your name and address)
Please forward and correspondence received from the Ministry to firstname.lastname@example.org.