The recent decision by the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) to ban certain animals from rehabilitation shelters is a “backwards way of thinking,” according to Angelika Langen, who operates the Northern Lights Wildlife Society.
According to the Cochrane Eagle newspaper, the SRD made the changes for the safety of both the public and the animals being rehabilitated. When it comes to lynx, bears and moose, the SRD is concerned they’ll become a public health risk when released, the Cochrane Eagle reports. Other species, they continue, can carry disease that may spread to the native populations when released, including salamanders and deer mice.
Langen says she considers herself fortunate to be a part of B.C.’s rehabilitation program in a province she says has embraced the public’s wishes in regards to wildlife rehabilitation.
“It is obvious that the Alberta government has not bothered to look closely at the benefits that rehabilitation of wildlife will bring to wildlife management,” Langen said. “To think of wildlife rehabilitation as individual animal welfare only is short-sighted and shows a total lack of understanding of today’s wildlife rehabilitation professionals.”
B.C. is among the leaders of the world, Langen said, and that’s because the professionals are highly motivated and take the time to research overall wildlife welfare and take the time to educate the general public.
“By limiting the ability of qualified centres to look after wildlife in need, Alberta is effectively putting both their human populations and wildlife at risk,” Langen continued, who worries that with the limitations placed on qualified centres concerned citizens may start taking in animals on their own.
This leaves her with a huge concern for their safety and that of the animals’ as they may not have the time or money necessary to properly care for the creatures.
Since their inception in 1990, they’ve released 148 bears, 48 moose and 36 deer, Langen said, none of which have become nuisance animals.
Currently, the NLWS is home to four grizzlies and 32 black bears, as well as two raccoons, two lynx and one cougar. While they specialize in bear and ungulate rehabilitation (moose and deer) they are open to taking in other creatures and are licensed by the B.C. Government.