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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

We have reported on the frustration of Environmentalists trying to amend and improve the manner of how State Game Agencies are funded..............Historically, Hunter license tags have been the "first and foremost" method of funding with the here and there use of $$ generated by conservation license plate sales................The result of this type funding has been that the State Agencies that "manage" wildlife do so with hunting as the first and foremost objective, followed by the political dictates of well-off farming and ranching interests...........Both of these "interest groups" dictate that carnivores be limited in the interest of optimizing prey animals like deer and elk for the benefit of hunters and livestock raisers.............Now, British Columbia, Canada has introduced the paradigm of "compensation funds", whereas money would flow from industry into wildlife management based on the damage that a particular industrial firm causes wildlife............Examples include trains that kill wildlife as they cross tracks, oil and mineral degradation of habitat................The general outdoor enthusiast who is not a hunter would also get involved in funding via a tax on "outdoor recreation gear" purchased at retail stores

How a moose tax can help B.C. wildlife conservation

Is it time for a moose tax?
Faced with declining game populations and the increasing complexities of wildlife management, people are starting to look at new funding models.
And a tax to help moose and other game animals might be one way to go.

A few years ago, in response to growing concerns that British Columbia’s moose numbers were in decline, the provincial government conducted 20 population surveys. The results were troubling. While in some places numbers were stable, in many regions moose numbers had declined by 50 per cent to 70 per cent.
Word quickly spread among the hunting community about which areas held the fewest moose, and soon there was a pile-on in regions that still had good numbers. That caused alarm in some First Nations communities, where people saw outsiders coming in to shoot moose that local families needed for winter food.
Some aboriginal hunters responded to the dwindling amount of moose by abandoning cultural practices. Instead of only harvesting bulls, they started shooting cows.
All of this, of course, combined to make the situation worse.
In response, the province launched a five-year moose study, which is expected to provide valuable information on the reasons some moose populations are crashing. Hunting is just one factor; logging practices in the wake of the pine beetle epidemic and a proliferation of resource roads are also thought to be contributing causes.
But B.C. isn’t waiting until the study is complete to act. Last week Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Steve Thomson announced he is putting $1.2-million into moose management immediately.
That expenditure came in response to a report by consultant Al Gorley, who outlined the need for broad policy reforms to help restore moose populations.
In a statement, Mr. Thomson said the government would act on all 21 recommendations made by Mr. Gorley, a registered professional forester with Triangle Resources Inc.
Many of Mr. Gorley’s proposals were so general that it is hard to imagine anyone objecting to them. Such as one that calls on government to adopt a policy goal “that recognizes the importance of moose to British Columbians.”
But embedded in some of Mr. Gorley’s recommendations are options that, if adopted, would cause fundamental changes to the way wildlife is managed in the province – and to the way that management is funded.
For example, in addressing the problem of moose being killed in train and vehicle collisions, Mr. Gorley notes some stakeholders “have suggested a compensation program, whereby a fee would be paid for each animal killed and the money invested in wildlife management.”
That could be a significant amount. Data on wildlife strikes is inconsistent, but one study of a 200-kilometre stretch of railway between Telkwa and Smithers found about 500 moose were killed over a five-year period. Extrapolated across the province, that could be thousands of moose lost.
Mr. Gorley also points out that not all industries provide “compensation funds” when their activities damage moose habitat. BC Hydro makes such payments, as do some natural gas projects.
But Mr. Gorley states that “moose population enhancement objectives [should be] applicable to all industries.”
Such compensation payments wouldn’t amount to a direct tax, but the result would be much the same, with more money flowing from industry into wildlife management.
The BC Wildlife Federation goes a step farther in a paper in which the organization calls for a tax on “outdoor recreation gear,” which would broaden the funding base to non-hunters.
The BCWF also points out that while hunting licences and fees bring the province $14.5-million, only $2.6-million of that is dedicated to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, which funds fish and wildlife conservation projects. The BCWF wants all those hunting licence fees to be spent on wildlife.
“Nearly every jurisdiction in North America has a dedicated funding model for fish and wildlife management: BC does not,” the BCWF states. “BC needs a new, innovative approach to wildlife management which is financially stable, and results based.”
New taxes are never popular. But in B.C., a wildlife tax would likely find broad support, especially if it helped produce more moose.

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