In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxMontrealTorontoVancouver

Support the VMC, donate today!

Advertisement
This post has not been reviewed by the Vancouver Media Co-op editorial committee.

Surrey's breeding season trapping leads to Ministry of Environment and BCSPCA investigations

Poorly thought out plan will injure and kill the Sullivan peacocks

by Roslyn Cassells

peacock chicks
peacock chicks
peacock mom and babe
peacock mom and babe
peahen and chicks
peahen and chicks
peacock pair photo by Steve Jones
peacock pair photo by Steve Jones
June 26, 2018.  Surrey City Council last night forceably removed residents hoping to speak to council about the report on the peacock eradication plan the city approved in last night's council meeting.  The citizens, who had been in contact with council and bylaw (who are charged with dealing with the situation) to no avail, are concerned the plan is fundamentally flawed in that it doesn't even consider the option of coexistence and employs cruel and ineffective techniques which will harm the animals.  
 
The city report approves trapping starting immediately, during the peacock breeding season.  Peahens have fairly large broods and the chicks will die if their mother hen is trapped and removed.  Concerned residents and animal advocates consider this to be cruel.  The removal plan is doomed to failure as the city is only permitted to trap on city owned property and the birds are located in some private properties.  Some local residents will be given traps to catch the birds themselves, which is dangerous to the birds, their chicks, and other wildlife and pets.  Inexperienced trappers can easily harm or kill an animal.  Wild animals can become injured or killed during trapping.  Following trapping the birds can die of thirst, hunger, heat, or stress if their fear-cries attract predators.  Other wildlife and pets can easily get caught and harmed in the traps.
 
The city says the birds will be transported to the city pound "immediately" but anyone who has ever dealt with bylaw will know they are only available during office hours, and take their sweet time about responding to outcalls.  The concern is that the birds will be unduly stressed by remaining in the trap for any period of time.  Bylaw is closed evenings, nights, weekends, holidays, and so on.  What about the people who set the traps and forget all about them while they are away for the weekend or whatever.  Traps must be continuously monitored, not just tossed out to all comers in the community.  People with experience handling wildlife should be engaged if the city is to do any trapping, and the trapping should obviously not take place when there are babies about.  The pound is not set up to manage large birds like peacocks.  Pound staff are not trained to care for such animals, and there is concern their needs will not be met there.
 
The city report is full of inaccuracies...reminiscent of a Trump tweet...for example Bylaw head Jas Rehal said the birds have been in the neighbourhood since 2006, when in fact there has been a stable colony there since 1976.  Rehal also states the neighbours are split 50/50 on the issue, while local residents and an independent community audit showed the numbers to be more like 5% opposed/95% in favour of the peacocks.  Rehal's plan to capture all of the peacocks is something that has not been successfully accomplished in other jurisdictions, not without using lethal means that is.  Any biologist will tell you that if you remove a percentage of a stable wildlife population from an area there will be a rebound effect with increased fertility in future seasons to make up for the losses.  So the city's plan will in fact increase the future numbers of peacocks.
 
A best practices approach would involve an educational campaign, and use deterrent methods for those property owners who want to discourage birds from their properties.  Wildlife experts suggest all kinds of things including physical barriers, tree wrapping, sonic areas, light features, reducing food and roost areas, and so on....   There is no need to go killing these beautiful, peaceful community members who are by and large welcome in Sullivan Heights.  What is needed is a shift in public thinking in our relationships towards animals.  You cannot move into an area full of animals and immediately expect the local authorities to destroy them.
 
Reports have begun to be filed with those who are responsible for the welfare of the animals. Members of the public concerned with the welfare of our feathered friends are encouraged to call the BCSPCA cruelty line at 1-855-622-7722 and insist they take action against trapping during breeding season, and the Ministry of Environment at 1-877-952-7277 to report the trapping methods which interfere with breeding birds with active nests, and impact other wildlife in the area.  Contact your local media to encourage them to tell the story from the birds' point of view! (edit@surreynowleader.com, cbcnewsvancouver@cbc.ca, bcassign@ctv.ca, sunnewstips@postmedia.ca, tabtips@theprovince.com, globalbc.newstips@globaltv.com, c_smith@straight.com and so on...)
 
We can easily coexist with these fascinating creatures, as societies all over the world do...and to our mutual benefit!  Come down to 62 Ave and 150 St. in Surrey and meet some of our most outstanding residents.
 
Write in to council to tell them to stand up for nature, not against her - let the Sullivan peacocks be!  Council email is council@surrey.ca
 
link to council report: 
 

 

Catch the news as it breaks: follow the VMC on Twitter.
Join the Vancouver Media Co-op today. Click here to learn about the benefits of membership.

User login

Advertisement