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Red Deer Advocate MONDAY, DEC. 1, 2014

Your trusted local news authority

Poisoning wolves a dangerous game CULL LEAVES POISONED CARCASSES FOR OTHER SCAVENGERS, PREDATORS TO PICK OVER BY LANA MICHELIN ADVOCATE STAFF Poisoning and shooting more than 900 wolves to stabilize a small caribou herd is destroying the area’s ecology and giving Alberta an international black eye, say Central Alberta conservationists. “It’s absolutely chilling,� said Bob Scammell, an author and journalist who received the Alberta government’s highest conservation honour, the Order of Bighorn, in 2000. “It’s an absolute horror story,� added Dwight Rodtka, a retired problem wildlife specialist for Alberta Agriculture. The men were reacting to a wolf cull that’s been done for the past nine years to try to save a small population of woodland caribou near Little Smoky, just south of Valleyview.

Study results by biologists show killing 841 wolves from 2005 to 2012 has barely managed to stabilize the threatened herd living in a region that’s 95 per cent disturbed by industry. The cull continues and the estimated number of dead wolves is now more than 900. Critics say “collateral damage� to other animals eating the poison is inestimable. Scammell and Rodtka believe the government is needlessly targeting wolves because it’s unwilling to curb unchecked forestry and energy developments that are destroying caribou habit. Conservationists say all the tree removal has actually caused “wolf highways� to be created into the forest. The provincial government’s bias towards industry at the expense of the environment is causing the strong opposition to Alberta pipeline projects in B.C. and the U.S., according to Scammell. “This is what’s causing Alberta’s tremendous pipeline problems. This will be noticed all over the

City looks to improve community sports fields

world, especially in the U.S.,� predicted the columnist, whose opinion pieces run in various Alberta newspapers, including the Advocate. “People will say, ‘We don’t want that sort of stuff happening here’ — and the Alberta government just doesn’t get it.� The Little Smoky herd is made up of only about 70 caribou — a protected species that cannot be hunted in the province. The animals are managing to exist on land near the Little Smoky River that’s scarred by forestry cut blocks, seismic lines and other energy developments. After all the effort, including killing 200 moose and elk for poisoned bait, Rodtka said hardly any more caribou calves are being produced compared to nine years ago. Meanwhile, he believes the culling program will likely trigger remaining wolves to produce larger litters as natural compensation.

Please see WOLVES on Page A2


BY CRYSTAL RHYNO ADVOCATE STAFF Red Deer’s fields of play are about to get a makeover. City council heard last week during the capital budget debate that the city’s new strategy will build more sports fields and transform others into higher calibre and make them more functional. Over four years, the city will spend $1.1 million to improve the play at community fields throughout Red Deer. “In some neighbourhoods there are soccer fields that are on top of a ball diamond and none of it is very functional and nobody really uses it,� said Sarah Cockerill, the city’s director of Community Services. “It is there for spontaneous play but if there were actually a higher quality diamond or field that could be programmed or rented out, it may be a better use of space.� Another part of the strategy involves adding sports fields to the soon-to-be developed northeast multihigh-school site. The city will spend $749,000 over four years there. An additional $250,000 was allocated to the Red Deer Regional Catholic School Division for increased space to accommodate community access to the change rooms at the division’s planned high school on the site. This will help meet the space technical requirements to host provincial level tournaments. The fields will be completed for the opening of the new Catholic high school in 2017. Edgar Athletic Park will receive a $1.5 million boost over two years for upgrades to the fields and the amenities. The Red Deer City Soccer Association requested upgrades to its building and the Central Alberta Slo-Pitch Association wanted washrooms and more storage. The soccer association has plans to build a permanent indoor field house with an international-sized soccer pitch. The location has not been determined. Cockerill said this is a medium-term fix for the facility. She said down the road the city may develop a sports field/festival grounds northeast of River Bend. The land has not been acquired. “All these together allow us to program our fields in a much more efficient way and a higher level of calibre of play,� she said.

Snow. High -14. Low -19


INDEX Four sections Alberta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A3,A5 Business. . . . . . . . . . . . . C2,C3 Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . D1-D3 Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D4 Entertainment . . . . . . . . . . . . C5 Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B1-B6

Large humanitarian team heads to Kenya 37 PERSON MISSION BRINGS MUCH NEEDED AID BY LANA MICHELIN ADVOCATE STAFF A Kenyan boy with disabled arms can now type at a computer because of the ingenuity of Central Alberta therapists. They fitted the elementary school student with a standard head lamp apparatus that had been retrofitted with a long wooden dowel. The boy learned to use the dowel extending from the apparatus to hit keys on a computer keyboard.

“They did some amazing things. I couldn’t believe what I saw,� said Eric Rajah, co-founder of A Better World Canada. “The boy was so excited to be able to type and communicate.� The Lacombe-based charity sent its largest-ever humanitarian team of 37 people to Africa last month. This included a 26-person medical team. Eight doctors, as well as nurses, pharmacists, physio and occupational therapists, went on a humanitarian mission to Kenya from Nov. 4 to 20 to assist with a wide variety of health needs.

Please see AID on Page xx

Israeli-Canadian captured by ISIL An Israeli newspaper report says Islamist websites claim to have captured Canadian who joined Kurdish fighters overseas.



Story on PAGE C4

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Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate staff

Cole Steuart fluffs up his personal Christmas Tree before decorating it in Candy Cane Lane at the 21st Annual Festival of Trees on Saturday. Cole and his sister Lily, left, were just two of many children that took part in one of Candy Cane Laneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most popular activities. For more coverage see C1.

Red Deer Advocate, December 01, 2014  

December 01, 2014 edition of the Red Deer Advocate

Red Deer Advocate, December 01, 2014  

December 01, 2014 edition of the Red Deer Advocate