Posts Tagged 'Mel Knight'

Bears threatened

Alberta designates grizzlies a threatened species.

Critics rightly point out the threatened tag might not even protect them from being hunted again. The province will reassess the hunting ban next year from the point of view of individual management areas and Knight admits the designation doesn’t mean a threatened species can’t be hunted.

The Alberta Wildlife Act was previously changed to permit the minister to authorize hunting of a threatened species.

But it’s not hunting that’s the biggest threat to grizzlies; the bigger threat is when oil and gas and forestry development encroaches into bear country and the public uses their roads for access into the sensitive habitat.

Ungraceful lurching

Globe editorial on grizzly conservation in Alberta.

Given that, as biologist Mark Boyce, the Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries of the University of Alberta, says, “Well over 90 per cent of bear mortality occurs within 500 metres of a road” – the plan should include some access management, e.g., new roads built by the oil and other extraction industries in areas of bear habitat would be gated, instead of opening up huge swaths of land for recreational use.

Such a targeted measure would not be an obstacle to Alberta’s economic future, or an insurmountable political problem for its government. It is time that Alberta’s oxymoronically titled Minister of Sustainable Resource Development, Mel Knight, stopped the ungraceful lurching movements and showed some leadership.

 Cross-province sport

 Forty-one coyotes found dead in Elkwater farmer’s front yard.

And although it’s legal to kill coyotes for a cross-province bounty, the Alberta government doesn’t support it.

“We would not condone that kind activity of course,” said Knight.

But some, like animal advocate R.J. Bailot, say bounties need to be outlawed.

“It’s no longer a protection of their livestock, it becomes a sport of how many animals can be slaughtered and then these people are getting paid to do it,” said Bailot.

If caught, the only penalty the hunters could face is for littering, which carries a fine of up to $500.

Mind boggles

On Alberta’s grizzly bear hunt ban.

Alberta’s new Sustainable Resource Development Minister Mel Knight has left the door open to allow a limited grizzly hunt in the Grande Cache region. The MLA for Grande Prairie-Smoky recently opined that “there are places where people are going to say: ‘Why don’t you allow some harvest in a certain area?’ “You reckon that folks can be found suggesting almost anything, but we don’t expect the government of Alberta to investigate an Elvis sighting in Rimbey or promote the limited use of chewing tobacco. The mind boggles at the notion that a clearly threatened species whose numbers have almost certainly been enhanced by recent protections might be subject to a new hunt. Knight invoked the spectre of personal and livestock security in his recent comments, as if there was some sort of grizzly infestation in the Grande Cache area.



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