Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WILD in the City (Ottawa Magazine)

Dear Ottawa Magazine Editors:

I was very surprised by the heavy-handed, one-sided Ottawa Magazine's "Wild in the City" article published in April (2013), although I should have noted before I started reading that it was placed in the "Political" section.  Ron Corbett angled the article as do many journalists in present-day media seeing wildlife as a nuisance and describing the negative and/or confused attitudes of locals and by describing ways of "getting rid of the problem".  In his article he describes menacing coyotes including one that hung out in a Kanata backyard for days, clueless Glebites trying to save trees by poorly identifying migratory birds, crows roosting in Alta Vista "that would scare Alfred Hitchcock" and beavers frustrating City of Ottawa staff by daming up storm water pipes, etc.

He interviews many people including councillors and Ministry of Natural Resources employees but sadly there is only one short paragraph detailing humane options for coexistance that MANY cities are employing and/or considering: naturalizing perimeters with tall grass and addling eggs to discourage the over population of geese (in cities like Kelowna and Peachland, B.C.), installing water flow devices and "beaver deceivers" that allow beavers and people to coexist (installed in Cornwall and Mission City B.C.) and humane education solutions for urban coyote conflicts such as the "Co-exist with Coyotes" program promoted by Stanley Park Ecology Society to name a few.

This could have been a great opportunity to educate local Ottawa residents on all the options we have in terms of humane solutions to live with and be able to appreciate the wildlife that flourishes and can be enjoyed throughout the city.  It has taken over ten years for Ottawa to regain what was lost when the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre had to close its doors to rehabilitating injured wildlife.  (Kudos to the Centre for continuing in the Education realm however!)  This is not the time to promote antiquated attitudes and outdated methods.  This is the time to reinforce new ideas and humane options in terms of coexistance and better understanding of wildlife and their ways. 

I would ask that the Ottawa Magazine explore these alternatives and provide a non-biased article or better yet an article helping to educate Ottawa citizens and demonstrate better alternatives that other Canadian cities are choosing and the opportunities that we could enjoy here.

Signed KF

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