By guest author, current Maple Ridge Councillor (BC),Cheryl Ashlie
As municipal candidates are preparing to hit the pavement in full election mode, I would hazard to guess that none will include on their list of issues and campaign promises—humane beaver management practices—at least not in the lower mainland. I admit fully, it wasn’t on mine last election, nor did I include it this time. Even though, after being elected last term, the issue of beaver activity around one of our local lakes, Whonnock Lake, was an ongoing concern. You see, the little critters were damming the flow to the lake to the point that the local canoe club patrons were hitting bottom with their paddles. And if that wasn’t enough of a reminder that we were sharing the lake with our “nickel mascots” the traditional tree gnawing and falling was an ever present back up signal.
Now, Maple Ridge is a community that prides itself on the high degree to which we value and protect the environment and our wildlife, but the urban encroachment on both is definitely challenging and ever present. Bears are showing up in back yards, deer wander neighbourhood streets, and yes, beavers make dams and damage drainage structures. It is heartbreaking to read that this year alone over 160 bears have had to be killed in BC due to having been habituated. Deaths that could have been avoided had people taken the time to properly deal with their garbage, avoided bird feeders, or cleaned up ripened fruit that attracts the bears. Bear interactions are newsworthy due to the danger they can cause us humans, so we hear of this statistic. But what happens to creatures such as the beavers? Well the following question posed to me by a member of The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals made me think twice.
What does Maple Ridge do in regards to trapping and killing beavers and other animals? Would Maple Ridge be willing to introduce a snare, leg-hold and Connibear trap ban?
I have to admit, I made an assumption that because we have such a high regard for nature in this community, beavers that cause damage to our infrastructure or get a little too zealous and cause our boaters some discomfort would be humanely relocated, or preventive measures, such as fencing around the base of trees, would be our tactic against the critters that need to chew to survive. Thank goodness I assumed correctly.
However, this is not good enough. The question that was posed above must be asked at all council tables where humans and wildlife are being forced to coexist and from these tables the humane decision must be made to ban the use of snare, leg-hold and Connibear traps
So even if you don’t see this on the leaflets of the candidates running in the November 19th election, it most certainly should be on the list of issues of those who are elected. It will be on Maple Ridge’s.
Cheryl Ashlie is currently a City Councillor for Maple Ridge and has been a resident of Maple Ridge since 1995. Feel free to contact Cheryl at any time, either via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 604 908-5453 or 604 463-1259.