by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate
Born Free USA's Canadian Representative
Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry's your man. (And we're happy to have him as part of our team, too!)
British Columbia’s Whistler Does (Almost) the Right Thing
Mid-October is betwixt and between weather for the mountain town of Whistler, British Columbia, best known for its ski runs and charming chalets. But it is usually too soon for skiing, with the snow yet to come. For some members of the surrounding countryside, the snow has another role to play. It goads you into committing to a long, deep winter’s sleep — if, that is, you are a bear.
Why I Don’t Believe in Politicians Who Don’t ‘Believe in’ Evolution
Look, I’m a Canadian, and we have our own numbskulls in public office, but if I don’t speak out against something that worries and even frightens me, I deserve the consequences, and they are profound.
Yukon-Alaska Border Blitz Nabs Wildlife Smugglers
Here are two news items from the same day — Tuesday, Oct. 12. The big one (in Canada, I mean) was that for the first time ever Canada failed to win a seat at the Security Council of the United Nations. The small one was that after a two-week blitz of the border between the Yukon and Alaska, wildlife officers uncovered more than 50 violations of both federal and territorial wildlife protection laws, and made 23 seizures of parts, or entire carcasses, of protected wildlife species, including walrus, black and grizzly bears, sea otter, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, eagle and bowhead whale.
Oddly, perhaps, both items cheered me.
Illustrating the Hypocrisy of Wildlife Management
We had elk. They were once found throughout much of eastern North America. Scientists at the time considered the eastern elk to be a form distinct from other elk in other parts of the continent. But, as is true of so many eastern species that bore the brunt of European settlement that moved from east to west across the continent, they were wiped out. The eastern elk is extinct, not seen in Ontario since the last one was recorded in 1893.
A Weird, All-Canadian Outcome of Parliamentary Vote on Long-Gun Registry
Most Canadians will know that last week a Conservative Party private member’s bill to scrap the long-gun registry in Canada was narrowly defeated by a vote of 153 to 151.
Don’t Count on Hunters or Zoos To Save Endangered Wild Cat Species
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the fact that 80 percent of the world’s wild cat species are at some level of risk of endangerment, including many species unknown to most people. But two species that are very well known, the African lion and the spotted leopard, are the subjects of a scientific paper just published in the journal Conservation Biology. The title of the paper is “Effects of Trophy Hunting on Lion and Leopard Populations in Tanzania.”
Truth Matters Not At All to a Very Large Minority
Have you heard of Snopes.com? It’s a website dedicated to putting the lie to “urban myths” and misinformation, and sorting out, among the countless allegations making the electronic communications rounds, which are false, which are true, and which are a mountain of fabrication built on a molehill of fact. The site also provides information on where rumors originated. Many have a multitude of variations and have been around for ages.
Rex Murphy, seal hunt advocate, strikes again
So, here we go again. On Aug. 30, Rex Murphy — famous in Canada for being a hyper-articulate commentator on everything, and fiercely defensive of all things Canadian, including the east coast seal hunt and Alberta oil sands — launched another diatribe against his avowed enemy: us. “Us” in this case includes everyone who is opposed to the seal hunt. Murphy, like the government, fur industry and Inuit, pretty well lumps so-called traditional and modest subsistence hunting for ringed and bearded seals by Inuit hunters with the vast commercial slaughter of whelping harp seals off the east coast early each spring.