The discovery of eight skinned beaver carcasses near a walking path in the Don Valley has left residents disturbed and prompted a call to ban body-gripping traps in the City of Toronto.
The first two beavers were discovered a month ago near a popular trail in Crothers Woods by resident Tom Saask, who reported them to the city, but more have appeared since the initial discovery, reports the Toronto Star.
While the practice of trapping is disturbing enough alone, the case of these beavers has left people surprised that trapping is perfectly legal, concerned because the trapper who is responsible is unknown and worried about traps being placed in areas where pets and children run the risk of being injured or killed.
Trapping is licensed and regulated by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) on public land and allowed on private land with permission – there are 2,800 registered traplines on Crown land. In this case, the land is owned by the city and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), but no one asked for permission to trap.
According to CityNews, officials at the TRCA doesn’t believe whoever did this is a professional, or know whether the beavers are from the Don Valley.
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals is now calling for a ban on traps, similar to the one enacted in Guelph, not only because of the beavers, but because of another incident where hikers found a coyote suffering in a snare in Pickering …and the fact that trapping is inherently violent and cruel. The coyote was rescued and received emergency care from the Toronto Wildlife Centre where he will remain until he can, hopefully, be released back into the wild.
Shannon Kornelson, Director of Public Outreach, wrote in the Huffington Post that even though trapping is regulated, there are still a number of problems ranging from a lack of enforcement and a lack of transparency – trappers aren’t required to post notices warning people of their locations – to the fact that traps aren’t numbered so if there is an incident, there’s no way to hold anyone accountable.
When it comes to a lack of notices, trappers continue to insist that people will sabotage traps if they know where they are and in some cases they’re probably right. As of March, trap saboteurs have reportedly removed an estimated 200 snares and Conibear traps in Ontario. Even if you have no intention of removing traps, it’s not a bad idea to know how to open a Conibear, especially if you hike with dogs, or kids. The ban in Guelph was prompted by the death of a dog who died in his owners arms with his head still caught in one.