Thursday, February 17, 2011

First Brant Presentation of 2011 Tonight


Tonight I'll be at
St Columba's Church in French Creek doing the first of many Brant presentations over the next two months. Since 2003, I would estimate that I have done about 50 of these presentations, trying to get the word out about keeping dogs off of the beaches within the Parksville-Qualicum Wildlife Management Area. I've given this same talk at various community groups, churches, for the mayor and council of three different municipalities, at various government offices, at several different universities, and on TV and radio. The message in all of my talks is always the same; Allowing a domestic dog to harass wildlife can have serious consequences. Our research in this area has shown that it is taking longer and longer each year for the Brant to reach the peak condition needed to make the flight from here to Izembek Lagoon in Alaska, which is the next stepping stone on the long flight between Baja and the breeding grounds. The evidence is also mounting that birds which arrive in less than perfect condition on the nesting grounds, are far less likely to successfully fledge young. It is becoming obvious that human recreation in staging areas far to the south, is having negative effects on the breeding grounds, thousands of miles away. So when I hear excuse after excuse from dog owners again and again and again, I really have to chant the "serenity now" phrase to keep my patience.


Sadly, despite all of these talks, the work of the Brant Wildlife Festival over the past 21 years, the hard work of student volunteers from the Resource Management Officer Training (RMOT) program at Malaspina Univsersity, Conservation Officers and bylaw officials writing $230 tickets, and numerous signs posted all over the place, we still have people determined to allow their pets to pursue and harass Brant and other wildlife on our local beaches.


So, I'll keep trying to get the word out there, and someday, maybe, people will stop disturbing these birds as they attempt to rebuild their fat reserves, and continue on to the far north.

4 comments:

Cathy said...

Guy, I speak from experience when I say that most people probably don't even give "where there dog runs" a lot of thought...they might think his chasing birds on the beach is funny...not a lot of deep thinkers out there obviously, but I know that someday your message will get through...it might only be to one person a year but eventually enough of them will clue in and things will change...whether the Brants can hold out that long is anyones guess.

Abu Anka said...

Thanks Cathy. I know that some people are really shocked that they can't do whatever they want, wherever they want. I usually ask them if I can come to their property and run my pet grizzly bear around for a couple of hours. I often get blank stares on that one.

I'll keep at it.

~Jen~ said...

Very true...until you made mention of Donna and I walking Dugan at Island View Beach it never occurred to me that it was an issue...as he was just a ball dog and not a bird chaser...

Abu Anka said...

In places like the south island, we need designated areas for doggies that love the water.