The Last Post…..


And now, the time has come, and so I face, the final curtain…..

Sitting here at Vancouver International Airport, checked-in, and just writing this final entry to our Canadian Adventures….

What can one say about Canada?  There are many words in the English Language that one can use to sum up this place…  Beautiful, Spectacular, Breath-Taking, but to be honest none of them do this incredible country justice!!!

Without wishing to cause any offence to Canadians, you can keep Vancouver… Although I’m sure it does have some lovely parts such as Stanley Park, at the end of the day it’s still a city and we didn’t travel this distance to visit a city, albeit one that hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics….

Vancouver was just a way in which to get into this amazing country and then the real adventure and exploration began…  Husband, Wife and a hired SUV!!!

This country has the most stunning scenery, incredible wildlife and biodiversity.

Maybe I’m wrong here, but it appears that there are those Canadians who are doing their utmost to protect what is around them and working directly against them are those who have no interest in protecting the natural treasures around them for their children and other future generations!!!

The saddest thing about this amazing place?  Well the saddest thing must be with regard to it’s predatory wildlife, as in Bear and Wolf.  At a couple of wildlife sanctuaries we were given some horrific statistics regarding both bear and wolf.  Now I don’t know whether the figures we were given are accurate, but then again I don’t know if anyone can truly say they have accurate figures….

How is it possible to go from 1500 Grizzly Bear in Banff National Park 10 years ago, to only 60 today? Although you’ll hear so much about Canada doing so much to protect it’s wildlife and natural resources…. With that sort of reduction maybe someone should suggest to them that they are failing….. BIG TIME !!!!

Firstly I should say that I don’t have a degree in Biodiversity, Zoology or any other educational discipline that you might expect.  However the thing that I do have which hasn’t cost me anything is a great passion for wildlife and all animals.  If you like wildlife then you’d better take an interest in their environment and what damages their environment…. whoops I nearly forgot, that’s us isn’t it?  Humans!!!!

People will tell you that you need a license to shoot a Grizzly Bear and that you have to go out with a registered guide / hunter.  The question they can’t answer is… “How many licenses are issued in total every year?”  It’s very strange to be told that the money from killing one grizzly bear (“client” pays approx $30k – $50k) goes towards conservation and protecting the species…  How the hell as a Government can you protect a species when you issue licenses for the killing of the very same species you claim to protect? Maybe it’s just because I’m English, but it sounds like a total contradiction if you ask me….

So far one has only talked about legally shot bears.  There has been no mention of those who are illegally shot, or those who are killed on roads by traffic or railway lines by trains.

I dug out a book we’ve got on Canada and the Rockies.  The book is about 15 years old and has a very interesting paragraph regarding Bears.  That paragraph states that extirpation (local extinction) will be achieved roughly within the next 30 years….  If that’s true, and the fact the book is already 15 years old….  Well simply put, that means the bear only has around 15 years in parts of the Rockies!!!!

You’d best not get me going on the Canis Lupus or better known as Grey Wolf, Timberwolf, Black Wolf !!!  Doesn’t matter what you call them to be honest as in this part of the world the Canis Lupus is considered to be vermin and is hunted and shot just like foxes used to be hunted in the UK.  You don’t need a license to shoot a wolf.  There is no limit on the number you can kill, nor does it matter if you shoot a pregnant female, or a female with puppies or cubs, call them what you wish!!!

Maybe one day the Canadian Government will look at the problems observed in Yellowstone National Park and what was done to redress the balance…

The grey wolf is often referred to as an apex predator and there are only about 5 or so species on this planet who are given that status.  Without the apex predator, species lower down the food chain aren’t threatened thus putting a greater pressure on the habitat that they occupy. Yellowstone found that the banks of the rivers were being broken down and that the grasses along their banks were dying.. Why? Because the wolf wasn’t controlling the number of Moose, Elk and Caribou….

The fact that the Ungulates (cloven hoofed animals) weren’t being moved around to different parts of the park meant that the ground wasn’t being “rotated” and so wasn’t given time to recover. As soon as an apex predator was re-introduced the Ungulates kept moving and so the ecological pressures were being spread accross the entire park.

The re-introduction of the Grey Wolf to Yellowstone was a great success and the natural balance to the park was eventually restored, although this took several decades to achieve. If one believes some predictions, then some species don’t have decades!!!

If Canada isn’t careful, the same will happen…  The wolf is a much-needed species and one can only hope that the Canadian Government will come to their senses and ban their being hunted before they end up becoming an endangered species…. How many years will it be before Wolves and Bears finally become extinct?  Maybe we should all do something NOW so that we never get to the stage of Extirpation or Extinction……

I’d totallly encourage shooting, but please only with a camera, not a gun!!!   Hey now there’s an idea…..

I would so love to be invited to Canada to study Bear and Wolves and to witness and document impact we are having on these species and so subsequently the impact we are having on various Ungulate species.  There is one problem to that wish though… a) Who is going to listen to me, if other qualified individuals have been ignored? b) Who would pay for such a project?  oh yes, and finally c)  bit difficult to work and live in such a beautiful country when neither you or your wife is Canadian and neither of you have the necessary visas.

Will my wife and I come back to Canada?  Oh god I so do hope so…..  I’d rather not leave to be perfectly honest, although I do have two hairy hooligans waiting for us back in the UK.  So please listen to the ramblings of a mad Englishman and ensure that we can always come back and see the wonderful nature that Canada has to offer.

 There is something rather special about this place.  It certainly hasn’t become a “nanny state” yet like the UK.  There aren’t speed cameras on every road.  We have seen 2 police cruisers and 1 Sheriff’s truck over the whole 3606km driven…. Strangely enough though drivers generally seem to behave themselves and if a driver gets into problems, then other drivers will stop and help.  God it’s been absolute bliss!!!

Most of all though…..

We did it, Our Way……..

Lewis

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