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Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

FRIENDS OF THE UNB WOODLOT PRESENT BEAVERS.

Join a special screening of Beavers on Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Charlotte St. Arts Centre. 2:00pm: Doors open. 2:30pm: Show starts. Prizes to be awarded. For more info, contact: clutter [at] nbnet.nb.ca

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A large beaver was killed sometime in mid June while trying to cross Regent Street from the Larch Swale to Corbett Brook/Marsh area.

Beaver in the UNB Woodlot

Beaver in the UNB Woodlot

Beavers at work in the UNB Woodlot

Beavers at work in the UNB Woodlot

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Conservation Council getting ready to march in Canada Day Parade

Conservation Council getting ready to march in Canada Day Parade

Conservation Council marching in Canada Day Parade

Conservation Council marching in Canada Day Parade

Caroline and Clover in Canada Day Parade

Caroline and Clover in Canada Day Parade

Beaver entry in Canada Day Parade

Beaver entry in Canada Day Parade

Conservation Council marching in Canada Day Parade

Conservation Council marching in Canada Day Parade

Cities and towns that say no to uranium! Why not Fredericton?

Cities and towns that say no to uranium! Why not Fredericton?

Photos by Charles LeBlanc.

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Who speaks for the beavers?
Published Thursday July 3rd, 2008
Chris McCormick
CRIME MATTERS
The Daily Gleaner
After development began, nesting trees were felled throughout the fall and spring during wildfowl migration. Contractors were hired to clear the land and large numbers of white tailed deer were driven onto nearby roadways and killed.
“Hundreds of burrowing mammals including beavers were buried alive, and one bulldozer operator said he had to continually stop and empty his bucket because rabbit and squirrels were leaping into it as he ploughed through their burrows.”
This paraphrase is from a public consultation document describing what happened during a particular development in British Columbia.
It also shows what happens to animals during development, an issue much discussed lately in the local media.
When it comes to controversial issues, people line up and state their positions. In the debate, some voices usually dominate while others are silenced.
For example, in a debate over gun control in the United States, news media, newspaper articles, editorials and letters to the editor came to be dominated by a “cosmopolitan worldview.”
This worldview or way of looking at and talking about the world emphasized risk avoidance as well as the government’s responsibility to reduce risk.
The end result was the marginalization of gun owners.
How contentious issues are framed in the news media will privilege some points of view while silencing others, as is the case with environmental conflicts.
More importantly, it can hamper efforts to find common ground on those issues.
However, seeing that the conflict is about worldviews gives us a way to approach the discussion of resource management.
In another example, researchers looked at how protests against the World Trade Organization held in Seattle in 1999 were represented.
Stories in the news drew largely from official sources and public opinion, sponsoring viewpoints critical of the protestors, as in, “a furious rag-bag of anti-globalization protestors converged on downtown Seattle.”
This characterization worked to marginalize and demonize anti-WTO protestors, while adding credibility to those people and organizations supportive of the WTO.
In my favourite example, during the fishing conflict at Burnt Church natives were described as “setting out on the water in defiance of the DFO,” despite the fact that the Supreme Court had already ruled in their favour.
Imagine how different the reading would be if the line had read “native fishers set out on the water and were challenged by the DFO, who were acting in defiance of the Supreme Court.”
From my point of view, it is obvious that socially responsible news media should allow a variety of ways of looking at the world to play out in an effort to promote public debate.
However, the very opening up of debate is often where these different worldviews are found.
For example, in a study of how environmental issues were discussed, researchers found that different stakeholder groups stereotyped others’ points of view and disparaged their motives, while also justifying and privileging their own reasoning.
Those in the dominant, development-oriented group tended to construct their opponents as naive, idealistic, paranoid and fanatical.
On the other hand, environmental activists constructed their opponents as sinister, political, untrustworthy and deceitful.
As each group took a position in the media to criticize the others, those who were criticized could claim victim status and take action to promote their own identity because of the other parties’ criticisms.
In the recent debate over woodlot development in Fredericton, activists have been criticized for being naive, told to get a life and were accused of butting in on the university’s legal rights.
The university, on the other hand, which has played a major role in this development and which could have pioneered green technology, has been criticized for contributing to environmental degradation and for avoiding an important environmental assessment.
When environmental issues are discussed in the media, the dynamic relation between humans and the world they inhabit is revealed.
Articles, commentaries and letters to the editor act as a forum for public dialogue on perceptions of land use and the environment.
Upholding democratic process as a determinant of land use policy is difficult, however, because the voices have unequal amounts of power.
Voicing an alternative environmental discourse is portrayed as a fringe interest. This is particularly dangerous because when a less powerful party is portrayed as “crazy,” it effectively stops the conversation.
When this happens, as the opening paragraph so vividly portrays, it is the wildlife itself which ultimately loses in the debate.
Chris McCormick is a criminology professor at St. Thomas University. His column on crime and criminal justice appears every second Thursday. Comments can be sent to letters@dailygleaner.com.

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Jon Collicot, July 1st, 2008

I read your front-page article June 27 entitled “Beaver kill comes back to haunt university” and was shocked. In the article, University of New Brunswick spokespeople describe how 24 beavers were trapped and killed for the sake of keeping a few woodlot roads free from water.

When questioned about their logic, they state that rendering them into pelts was the most humane way of stopping the problem.

First of all, they never clearly state the hazards. Killing these busy little critters for the sake of students and professors who want to visit the woodlot seems ridiculous, educationally ironic and extremely heavy-handed to me, and it sets a bad example for our community.

I grew up in the country so I have a great admiration for all of God’s creatures, no matter how fierce, ugly or in this case “annoying,” as the university’s attitude seems to portray them.

Instead of attempting to live in harmony with these animals as they build their homes to survive, UNB decides to start a program of contained extermination.

They go on to say that moving the beavers was an extremely dangerous proposition due to the beavers’ natural territorial tendencies. In other words, it is much better to make pelts out of them then to attempt to move them and have them fight with each other.

Perhaps they fear open warfare on Fredericton streets, beavers everywhere smacking each other with their tails and taking down parking meters with their mighty incisors! Better call in the armed forces!

This echoes a trend here in Fredericton. As our supposedly “green” city continues to expand and sprawl into the woods that surround us, we are consistently turning common sense on its ear for the sake of so-called “progress.” Why spend money when we can just kill whatever annoys us? What’s next? Burning blue heron nests?

The beavers have just as much right to live here as we do, and UNB is demonstrating openly how they are less an institution of higher learning and more a symbol of human intolerance towards our natural world.

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The University of New Brunswick is defending a decision to trap and kill 24 beavers on its woodlot two years ago.  A group planning a protest in front of the school gates this morning is calling on the university to commit not to kill any more of the animals and to conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment of its wetlands.
“What’s going to happen if we remove the beavers, compromise the wetlands, develop all around them and make those wetlands effectively meaningless? What’s going to happen to the city of Fredericton?” said Mark D’Arcy, a UNB alumnus and spokesman for the Friends of the UNB Woodlot.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fredericton Citizens Protest University’s Killing of Beavers Using Body-Gripping Conibear Traps

The University of New Brunswick slates over 1500 acres of its forested wetlands for development and uses a device banned in several parts of the world to rid the area of beavers.

Fredericton, N.B., Canada June 25, 2008 –

A group of concerned citizens in Fredericton, N.B. is calling on the University of New Brunswick to stop killing its woodlot beavers and to conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment of its forested wetlands.

UNB has two very prominent beavers on their emblem holding a book of knowledge with the latin phrase that translates “Dare to be wise”.

A group of citizens holding signs that read “Killing Beavers? UNBelievable!” and “UNB: Dead is Not Wise” will be protesting at UNB’s gates from 7:45-8:45 am Friday, June 27th. They will then march up the short walk to the historic King’s College – the first public university in North America – and hand-deliver letters to the President, Dr. John McLaughlin and the Chair, UNB Board of Governors, Mr. David Stevenson.

“In preparation for big box store development, at least 24 beavers were killed using conibear traps,” says Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, a member of Friends of the UNB Woodlot, a group concerned with the fate of the UNB woodlot.

“The Conibear trap is known even among the trappers as a body-holding trap.” says Fann Fannya Eden, Program Coordinator of Fur-Bearer Defenders, a Vancouver-based wildlife protection society working to stop trapping cruelty and protect fur-bearing animals since 1944. “It often fails to strike the animal right on the neck causing a quick death because the animal size, the speed, and the direction of the entry cannot be predicted. The Conibear trap often clamps onto any part of the animal’s body from snout to tail, causing horrendous pain and a slow, agonizing death.”

Conibear traps are banned/restricted in eleven states in the U.S. and a growing number of municipalities across North America, including cities in British Columbia, Washington State, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Massachusetts.

Earlier this month, the mayor of Surrey, B.C. spoke out against the use of conibears after learning they had been used to cull beavers in her city. She is currently taking her concerns to the B.C. Environment Ministry.

Conibear traps pose a risk for more than beavers. In 2002, in Abbottsford, B.C, a boy curious about a chain he saw dangling into a nearby pond, pulled up a trap and subsequently got his leg trapped. Dogs across the country have also fallen victim. As conibear traps are notoriously difficult to open once sprung, many owners have stood by helplessly as their pets have died.

“UNB had choices available to them,” says Mark D’Arcy, another member of Friends of the UNB Woodlot. “In West Vancouver, for instance, they are very successfully using “beaver deceivers”, an anti-flooding device that has been used in Europe for about 40 years. Proper road design using arched or gull-winged culverts eliminate much of this work altogether since the beavers can’t block them.”

Friends of the UNB Woodlot offered to pay for the pipes and hardware necessary for beaver management but UNB administrators declined.

Historical research now show that without beavers, wetlands will deteriorate, and will become decreased in size by up to 90%. “Beavers are necessary for the maintenance of the wetlands which are, by law, protected,” says Mark D’Arcy. “A university, of all places, has certain social and environmental responsibilities,” (s)he added.

“Kudos to Friends of the UNB Woodlot for working to spare beavers from suffering prolonged, agonizing deaths in body-gripping traps,” says PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Unless UNB modifies the habitat to make it unattractive and inaccessible to beavers, more beavers will simply move in to take the place of those who were killed, resulting in a cruel, endless trap-and-destroy cycle.”

The group is also calling on UNB to impose a moratorium on development until a comprehensive environmental impact assessment of the forested wetlands is conducted.

“Unfortunately, there is a loophole in environmental legislation which has allowed UNB to avoid such an assessment to date,” says Friends of the UNB Woodlot member Monika Stelzl. “In fact, even the limited EIA which should have been, by law, conducted on the current site of Home Depot was not done.”

“There is a lot of support by Fredericton City Council for big box development — which they keep referring to as progress,” says Friends of the UNB Woodlot member Carla Gunn. “We can only speculate about how decisions are being made in this city and what goes on between the various stakeholders. All we know for sure is that an assessment that would have slowed down or even halted development was disregarded.”

“A comprehensive environmental assessment needs to be done and beavers need to be re-introduced and managed properly to ensure that the integrity of the wetlands is maintained. Manage the beavers, and, in turn, they will manage the wetlands.”, concludes Carla Gunn.

For more information, contact:

Mark D’Arcy and Carla Gunn, Spokespersons, The Friends of the UNB Woodlot
Telephone: 1-506-454-5119 (Mark)
Telephone: 1-506-455-0695 (Carla)

THE FRIENDS OF THE UNB WOODLOT

Website: www.smartgrowthUNB.ca
Facebook: “I don’t want the UNB woodlot turned into Big-Box Strip Malls” (1236 members)
YouTube: search for “UNB Woodlot”
E-mail: friendsoftheUNBwoodlot@gmail.com

The Friends of the UNB Woodlot Strategy Group:
Andrew Bedford
Mark D’Arcy
Carla Gunn
Dr. Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy
Charlene Mayes
Janet Phillipps
Dr. Monika Stelzl

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