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On the verge of extinction while they hunt

Posted on February 4, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

Tell me if I’m wrong, if a species is on the endangered list and is on the verge of extinction, then why is it that there are NINE (yes “9”) states in the U.S. that still to this day, have an open hunting season on them. I’m talking about the Greater Sage Grouse found in the south eastern corner of Alberta and the south western corner of Saskatchewan. There was an emergency order announced late last year from the federal government to help protect this endangered species that goes into effect Feb. 18/14.  This is the northern range of the sage grouse and numbers have dwindled in the last couple of decades, but animals and birds move and relocate, the same as people. If you find a better paying job somewhere else and it will alleviate some stress on you and your family, you move. Maybe there were too many predators in this area and less further south. In the region where the Greater Sage Grouse lives, there are many predators, including but not limited to, the cougars, wolves, coyotes, foxes and skunks (they love eggs) and that’s just the ground attack, then there are eagles, hawks and ravens for the aerial bombardment. If (the environmentalists) would talk to the locals (and actually take the time to listen to them) they will tell them that the hawks and eagles have vastly increased over the years and that you never ever saw ravens down in this corner of the world before, but they’re here now.

I don’t believe this is all about the sage grouse, but mainly about gas and oil in the area. The environmentalists would rather see businesses shut down, have people move and relocate to futures that are unknown and have the hamlet of Manyberries dry up and blow away. There isn’t much there, but it’s still home to 34 people and 20 of them rely on the gas and oil industry for a living. If ranchers are lucky enough to have wells on their property, they rely  on the extra income they receive from the royalty cheques, these are paid to them from the gas and oil companies and it really makes a difference to them and their family at the end of the year. If this was really about helping to save the grouse, why would they not use the old government research station down at Onefour, turn it into a protected area and make it a sage grouse sanctuary.  There is over 40,000 acres, (17,000 ha) of mainly short grass prairie range-land, this area is non-populated with the very minimum of roads, power poles and fences. Hell, with a little planning and some initiative, they just might be able to control the predators and give these majestic birds a proper home without upsetting the applecart. This research station was established in 1927 and due to government cutbacks, was shut down late last year. This area would be perfect for reintroducing the Greater Sage Grouse back to the area, after all, this is it’s natural home, not the Calgary Zoo or anywhere around Calgary.

For those who haven’t heard the news, the federal and provincial governments have entered into a multi million dollar partnership with the Calgary Zoo to start a new captive breeding program for the Sage Grouse, on a ranch south of Calgary. Each government is throwing in 2.1 million dollars towards a 5.3 million dollar goal. I wonder, how come none of the local ranchers that live in the immediate area, where the sage grouse also live, got offered a chance to participate in this government  funded program? I don’t know, to me, so much of this is just common sense, but it seems like the Sage Grouse, it’s just not around anymore.

RC Pryce

Manyberries

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