Fur Industry – Into the 21st Century

Why is trapping important in this day and age when over 80% of our Canadian population follow an urban lifestyle?

George Labrash

Why is trapping important in this day and age when over 80% of our Canadian population follow an urban lifestyle? A response to this question is many-sided and deserves some critical evaluation.

Throughout human history people have trapped animals for fur, food and other valued products. Trapping continues to be an important economic and also cultural activity especially in remote areas. The four hundred year old trapping tradition has left an indelible mark on the Canadian landscape and the founding cultures that fashioned this nation. Even today the estimated annual domestic retail fur sales amount to 300 million dollars with most of this revenue being generated in the boreal forest and arctic regions of Canada.

In more recent years trapping has become an important tool for purposes of conservation, environmental protection and maintaining biodiversity. With continued human encroachment on wildlife habitat it is essential that insightful management strategies be adopted and effectively implemented. The trapping community has long been relied upon as the eyes and ears on the landscape. If there is a rabies or tularaemia outbreak it is the trapper who rings the initial alarm bell. If there is a need for statistical information on wildlife populations this is also usually available through the efforts of the trapper. Through ongoing input from the trapping community government regulations on season openings, harvesting rates and procedures are constantly reviewed and refined.

It is in the best interest of the trapper to maintain wildlife populations at the optimum level where all components are in dynamic equilibrium. This delicate balance is achievable through a long apprenticeship attuned to the pulse on the landscape. This state of sustainable wildlife use helps protect natural habitat and reduce the potential for suffering caused by disease, starvation and habitat loss.

Human-wildlife interface conflicts are becoming more frequent and of real concern. Habituated wildlife within the urban setting present new and sometimes serious health and safety issues. Wildlife interference on farmlands, roadways, mine tailing ponds and other properties often require the expertise of professional trappers.

Research has found that people who participate in trapping do so for many reasons, the most commonly listed ones are: life style orientation, nature appreciation, wildlife management, community affiliation, self-sufficiency and source of income and food. Most people participate for several of these reasons. A common link in the values of these people is they utilize wild animals and plants to bring sustenance into their households. For many, this is an integral part of their life, and is an enduring element of their relationship to nature and link to the land.

Feel free to join us at NVSS on April 13 and 14am for the 67th BCTA convention. Seniors and public school students have free admission. A mini trade fair will be available in the small auditorium. Information on available tables can be reached at tmakzewski@shaw.ca.