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Information about culling

Published on January 15, 2008

Author: Matild


Culling of Overabundant Species in National Parks:  Culling of Overabundant Species in National Parks Overview:  Overview National Parks Overabundance Culling Methods Case Studies Our opinion Parks Canada: Mandate :  Parks Canada: Mandate On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for future generations Ecological Integrity :  Ecological Integrity Characteristic of the region Includes biotic and abiotic components Abundance, change and processes Ecosystem-Based Management :  Ecosystem-Based Management Evolution and History Maintain ecological processes Avoid island management Manage populations at levels that are self sustaining Awareness of rates of change within park Manage park as a whole Guiding Principles & Operational Policies:  Guiding Principles & Operational Policies Ecosystem-based management Understand impacts from outside the park boundaries Thinking big and planning for the future Working with outside agencies Educate the public Science based Active Management:  Active Management Moving away from “laissez faire” practices Fire restoration, management of hyper abundant species or elimination of non native species Need sufficient scientific grounds to believe it will be beneficial Adaptive management techniques Public acceptability Canadian National Parks Act:  Canadian National Parks Act The Wildlife Regulations Section makes culling legal in National Parks: “A Superintendent may authorize: - the removal, relocation or destruction of wildlife for scientific purposes or park management purposes” When does Overabundance Occur:  When does Overabundance Occur When animals exceed their carry capacity When animals cause unwanted effects to their ecosystem When animals out compete a ‘favoured’ or endangered species When animals interfere with humans or livestock Carrying Capacity:  Carrying Capacity Maximum number of animals in a given environment can support without detrimental effects Ecosystem Effects:  Ecosystem Effects Ungulates feed upon the understory ‘Favoured’ & Endangered Species:  ‘Favoured’ & Endangered Species ‘Musky’ now on top of food chain, prey on endangered Atlantic salmon Human Interference:  Human Interference Culling of elk in Banff to decrease aggressive incidents from 106 in 1999 to 19 in 2003 Culling Methods:  Culling Methods Introduction of Predators Shooting Trapping Poison Baiting Fertility Control Capturing and Shipping Fertility Control:  Fertility Control Offers a non-lethal method to control overabundant populations Methods Sterilization Contraception Contragestation Shooting:  Shooting Tranquilize then euthanize Firearms Ground Culling Humane method Correct firearm, ammunition and shot placement Wounded animals & babies Labour intensive Results in a quick clean kill Effective in small areas Shooting:  Shooting Aerial Culling Humane method Again correct firearm, ammunition and shot placement Degree of difficulty Shots must be placed towards the vital areas such as the lungs and heart compared to head shots Indirect impact on non-target animals Ethical use with wolves in Alaska Trapping:  Trapping Humane method?? Use of conibear vs. leg hold traps Traps must be checked regularly Problems with non-target animals (pets) Try to make traps species specific Use in small areas Introduction of Predators:  Introduction of Predators Large carnivores lost because of humans in early part of 20th century Wolves –very popular, reach sexual maturity at young age and can produced large litters Wolves tend to avoid humans compared to bears Disliked because of tendency to prey upon domestic and on game species Great success in Yellowstone Poisoning:  Poisoning Cost effective, aerial drops, land drops Sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) Odourless powder, water soluble Occurs naturally in plants Use to kill feral pigs in Australia Problems with non-target animals Directly or indirectly CNS- paralysis coma death Time for death 4 hours to 2 days depends on amount ingested Capturing and Shipping:  Capturing and Shipping Large animals may be tranquilized, small animals by live trap Animals don’t have to be destroyed but relocated to a different location within the park or outside of the park Relocation important with species at risk or endangered Expensive but looks great with the public Case Study: Elk Island National Park:  Case Study: Elk Island National Park Elk Island:  Elk Island Park established in 1909 Area of 200 km2 Unique - 2.2 metre high fence that surrounds the park Prevents entrance into ranch land Plains bison sold in live auctions Elk and Woods bison rounded up and transplanted to establish or maintain free-roaming herds in other areas of the historic habitat Elk Island:  Elk Island Elk relocation program has been in affect since 1937 In 2001 236 elk were relocated, in order to try to keep the population at about 900 head, cull about 20% of the population Plains vs. Woods bison:  Plains vs. Woods bison Elk Island:  Elk Island Bison rounding up dates back to 1907 Annual herd reductions took form of slaughters for many years Meat to Native bands across the country, retailed to public, troops in WW2 In the 60’s shooting less acceptable with public In 1967 first live sale of Plains Bison Elk Island:  Elk Island Two handling facilities for Plains and Wood Bison Aged, sexed, disease tested, vaccinated, ID tag Occurs in fall, Wood Bison to restore historic ranges of northern Canada like B.C Elk Island:  Elk Island Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve :  Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve Southern part of Queen Charlotte Islands, Provincial - 1958, National - 1988 Called “Canadian Galapagos” due to high number of endemic species that have evolved here due to isolation Unique vegetation and wildlife Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve:  Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve Introduced species out compete and displace endemic species Intensified because new arrivals have no or little predators or competitors This area have some of B.C’s most extensive seabird nesting sights, internationally significant Little defence against predators Severe losses even to large colonies Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve:  Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve Naturally Occurring Black Bear* Marten* Otter Ermine Keen’s mouse Little brown Bat Silver-haired Bat Dawson Caribou (extinct) Introduced Sitka black tail deer (1878) Rabbit (1884) Black Rat (1919) Norway Rat (1922) Beaver (1936) Racoon (1940) Red Squirrel (1947) Goat (1976) Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve:  Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve To help Seabirds – Rat control programs St. James Island completely removed, 10 other islands still have resident but populations are low and the program is being continued To add, Racoon control programs To help seabird colonies, also other ecosystems from intertidal to high-elevation forest Control and monitor Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve:  Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve Sitka black tail deer, only a few islands remain deer free Impact on shoreline vegetation and forest understory Grazing means less food for other plant eaters Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve:  Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve Do not want to eliminate them all, not feasible or desirable by society Experimental cull on two islands Baseline assessment of islands before culling of songbird populations and vegetation Results show an obvious reestablishment of the herb and shrub layer Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve:  Case Study: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve Deer Free Deer Affected Case Study: Gros Morne National Park:  Case Study: Gros Morne National Park Park established in 1973, 1805 km2 Moose, extremely overabundant, are causing problems by browsing Moose introduced in 1904, became common in park in 1940’s (wolf extinct 1911) 125 000-150 000 on NFLD, annually 24 000 moose killed by hunters Case Study: Gros Morne National Park:  Case Study: Gros Morne National Park Park closed to hunting since 1974, no major predators except Black Bear on calves, not significant Domestic harvesting of wood allowed 12 cutting blocks, total area of 194km, 10% park, 25% forested lands Inhabitants of park who were 19 years or older in 1973 and their children allowed (1600) Will occur for only two generations Right to cut 10 cord year each, but only 10% of max Case Study: Gros Morne National Park:  Case Study: Gros Morne National Park Moose in the Park 7800 Average density 4.3 km2, high as 19.5 km2 Populations regulated by food supply Moose like to feed in areas of with large amounts of understory, disturbed sites perfect Small patch harvesting results in heavy browsing by moose Case Study: Gros Morne National Park:  Case Study: Gros Morne National Park Stats on browsing Total number of twigs browsed in 1977 was 5% while in 1996 was 38% In 1997 most important food sources were: Canada Yew, Mountain Maple, White Birch, Balsam Fir and Chuckley Pear Between 1977 and 1996 the availability of above species except Balsam Fir decreased from 14.6% to 2.2% Case Study: Wood Buffalo National Park:  Case Study: Wood Buffalo National Park Case Study: Wood Buffalo National Park:  Case Study: Wood Buffalo National Park Park established in 1922 to protect the free-roaming woods bison herds of the area Subject to potential cull due to: Bovine Brucellosis and Tuberculosis (TB) in Bison Brucellosis causes abortion of calves late in gestation Bacteria can persist in the soil for up to two years TB affects respiratory tract, organs and bones of host Can infect vast majority of mammals, believed it was introduced to bison by domestic animals Chronic disease that may take years to develop, results in crippling injuries to bones, general debilitation, even fatal Case Study: Wood Buffalo National Park:  Case Study: Wood Buffalo National Park Bovine TB can affect most mammals TB spread through exchange of respiratory fluids, therefore density dependent, success in herding animals Agriculture Canada wants to cull all of the 4000 bison because they are deemed to be carriers Case Study: Wood Buffalo National Park:  Case Study: Wood Buffalo National Park Cost--- 20 Million But do want to replace all of them with healthy herd Direct effect on wolves 85% of their diet Would feed on Moose or Caribou, decrease in their population Or, cull/regulate predator Case Study: Point Pelee National Park:  Case Study: Point Pelee National Park Located 50km south east of Windsor Known for bird and butterfly migration One of the smallest national parks Carolinian vegetation Why Manage This area?:  Why Manage This area? More rare species of animals and plants than any other region in Canada Important vegetation that supports the vast bird and butterfly migration 60 species at risk are found within the park boundaries Why deer population has increased?:  Why deer population has increased? Removal of carnivorous predators due to close proximity to human life Deer can make use of agricultural land outside the park Point Pelee is one of the largest intact natural areas in the Carolinian zone Why deer are problematic:  Why deer are problematic High deer densities have changed vegetation structure Eliminated several species of rare flora Allowed for invasion of non native plant species Case Study: Point Pelee:  Case Study: Point Pelee Size of deer herd within park determined by helicopter census By 1980s deer population in the park was 160+ deer Managers use literature value of 6-8 deer per sq km of available habitat Park capacity is 24-32 deer Case Study: Point Pelee:  Case Study: Point Pelee Detailed assessment and extensive public consultation 1992 park managers implemented regular culling program Cull conducted in late January – early February Small culls of 10-25 deer are required every other year Why Point Pelee has been successful :  Why Point Pelee has been successful Managers expressed their ideas in a way that was acceptable to the public Restricted the culling to park staff only Invested a vast amount of money into researching other methods of managing deer populations (immunocontraception) Wolf Reintroduction: Success Story:  Wolf Reintroduction: Success Story Wolves were exterminated from Yellowstone When the wolves disappeared, so did aspen trees Elk populations were exploding, eating all the young trees Beavers competing with elk for aspen Success Story: continued:  Success Story: continued Wolves reintroduced into the park in 90s Elk populations have declined to a manageable number Other species, such as songbirds, have increased in numbers Biodiversity of the park has increased since reintroduction of the wolves

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