More producer input into wildlife damage sought

The survey deadline has been extended to gather more information from producers

AIRDRIE, Alta. — An Alberta wildlife damages survey deadline has been extended to March 31.

Alberta Beef Producers is working with the Miistakis Institute at Mount Royal University in Calgary to gain a better understanding of the extent and costs of wildlife on a regional and provincial scale.

The survey hopes to assess populations and provide information to the province about whether current compensation programs are adequate.

“We are trying to capture the dollar amount and we are asking people what it has cost them over a five year period,” said Fred Hay of ABP.

The goal is to get back 2,000 surveys through the online and written versions of the survey.

Kim Good, a researcher with the institute, understands the problem from both sides. She farms near Carstairs, Alta., where moose raiding canola fields is common.

“The moose love our canola,” she told the landowner group, Action for Agriculture at a meeting near Airdrie, Alta., March 7.

Alberta landscapes support a wide diversity of wildlife, but the conflicts are growing as farming, mining, logging and urban development pushes animals into human territory.

“We appreciate seeing them. If they are eating our chickens, it is a different topic,” she said.

Good said it is a global problem, in which elephants raid gardens in Uganda, otters eat farmed fish in Germany and carnivores attack reindeer in northern Sweden. Producers have looked for solutions with varying success.

“This isn’t local to us, it is around the world,” she said.

The latest survey wants to hear from as many producers as possible, whether they are having problems or not. The survey can be found at www.beefsurvey.ca. and is open until March 31.

Paper copies are available by calling the ABP at 403-275-4400 or emailing [email protected]