‘Protect the evidence,’ urges government problem wildlife specialist advises

Compensation for lost livestock may depend on it

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

“I will not say we have enough manpower,” said government problem wildlife specialist Mike Ewald at M.D. of Lesser Slave River council’s Apr. 26 meeting.
You can say that again, said councillor Robert Esau. “It’s getting to the point where farmers won’t even phone. The results haven’t been great.”
“You’re shooting yourself in the foot,” if you don’t, Ewald said.
This discussion arose from Ewald’s presentation to council on how the government compensates farmers for animals lost to certain wild predators.
“If we don’t hear about it,” Ewald said, “it didn’t happen.”
Preserving evidence is pretty important, Ewald went on to say. Not all dead farm animals are killed by predators, and the better the evidence is, the more likely the owner is to be compensated. This would be a simpler process also if every farmer was on the level. But experience shows some aren’t, and have tried to claim compensation for animals that weren’t killed by predators.
“Bad farmers ruin it for everyone,” he said.
Getting back to his main message, Ewald said carcasses torn up post-mortem by ravens and coyotes are going to be hard for investigators to assess.
“We’re not looking for ways for government not to cut a cheque,” he said. “But if the evidence isn’t there… The onus is on the producer.”
“Are photographs evidence?” asked councillor Brad Pearson.
“It depends how they’re taken,” said Ewald, recommending wide-angled shots together with close-ups of the damage, with a measuring device in them for perspective.
Why the ruler? It could make the difference in telling whether bite marks are by coyote or wolf.
“You’re not covered for coyotes,” he said.
Ewald’s final word: Don’t put up with no response from Fish & Wildlife when reporting incidents of predation.

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