A rural part of the Kootenays is asking the province to make it illegal to feed all wildlife, not just dangerous animals.
In a resolution passed on the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention floor Thursday, Regional District of East Kootenay electoral area G director Gerry Wilkie said he was frustrated that nothing in the Wildlife Act criminalized feeding
“In our community, people have taken to feeding wild turkeys in the area,” said Wilkie.
“Those turkeys have grown from a small population of 10-12 now numbering over 100 birds.”
Turkeys take over Edgewater:
Residents, Wilkie said, are buying “100 lb bags of feed” and throwing it around the small community of Edgewater.
“This is not intended to prevent grandma from feeding her chickadees,” he noted.
Wilkie said that the conservation officers he’s spoken to have their hands tied.
“The Wildlife Act won’t allow it.”
He’s worried about what animals will come next.
“And of course, raccoons are on the way,” said Wilkie.
“The whole idea of the government being in charge of wildlife management and not being able to enforce something like this is to me, simply not right.”
He’s worried not only for the people around the community, but for the animals themselves.
“Almost all wildlife scientists will tell you that feeding wildlife is deleterious to wildlife,” said Wilkie.
Clearwater Coun. Merlin Blackwell, who helps manage Wells Gray Provincial Park, agreed.
“Feeding wildlife is generally a horrible idea,” said Blackwell.
But Thompson Nicola Regional District electoral area F director Ronaye Elliott was worried for those living near dangerous wild animals.
“Some of us live in a rural area where wildlife is part of our everyday living,” said Elliot.
“Certainly, cougars come along and they eat your chickens, coyotes come along and take away your dogs or your cats… I don’t consider that intentional feeding.”