John Aberth: Wildlife is a valuable public resource. Why waste it?

This commentary is by John Aberth, a licensed wildlife rehabilitation volunteer who rehabilitates beavers, raptors and other animals at Flint Brook Wildlife Rescue in Roxbury.

Lately, the news has been filled with stories of beavers hailed as the “architects of climate change” and “champions of the climate solution” for their ability to create drought-resistant and green fire shock aquifers and aquifers even in the midst of devastating wildfires.

In western states, such as California, Nevada, and Utah, beavers are deliberately introduced into areas, including grazing lands and pastures, through a program to build “starter” dams, or “pairs” for the beaver dam, in order to encourage beavers to stay and do their valuable work, each It’s free.

Meanwhile, here in Vermont, which is supposedly an ecologically progressive country, we kill more than 1,000 beavers annually, on average (although self-reporting by hunters is inconsistent), all in order to cater to the recreational tastes of the baiting community. local, which comprises only 0.1% of Vermont’s total population.

This does not include the 500-600 “annoying” beavers besieged by Vermont towns to protect purported road canals, and other little-known “annoying” beavers besieged by private landowners. This means that more than 1,000 potential aquifers and wetlands are lost to the state each year.

If you thought Vermont could withstand the loss of this naturally occurring wetland because wildfires and droughts rarely occur here, you’d be wrong. So far, this current year, 2022, has been the driest in Vermont’s recorded history over the past 128 years. Climate change will only make this trend worse.

We need our beavers alive, working on the landscape to create barriers against climate change, not being killed by poachers flogging them for skins no one wants anymore or for “tradition.”

Almost the same can be said for all the other farmers who are currently targeted by hunters: bobcats, coyotes, foxes, minks, hunters, etc., all of whom feed on mice as one of their main food sources, and thus are our front line of defense against Lyme disease. — which has the second highest rate here in Vermont — by helping to break the chain of tick infection by feeding on rats infected with Borrelia burgdorferi.

It is a well-established principle that the common good takes precedence over the private desires of a few individuals. Title 10 VSA 4081 of Vermont’s Laws states that the Fish and Wildlife Service will manage the state’s wildlife “in the public interest.”

However, the fisheries lobby currently has a stifling control over Vermont’s wildlife policy: all of the current members of the Fish and Wildlife Council, for example, are hunters, fishermen, and/or fishermen, with no opportunity to hear other voices.

Therefore, it is up to the public to pressure the legislature to enact laws that would benefit wildlife and humans, such as a statewide trapping ban.

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Tags: beaversAnd the Climate changeAnd the Fish and Wildlife DepartmentAnd the John AberthAnd the besieged

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