When I started to write this letter it was to voice frustration (and to be honest, anger) with the conservation service, and the R.A.P.P. (Report all Poachers and Polluters) program as I felt they were not meeting my concern and report with the urgency it deserved. Let me start at the beginning.
On Mother’s Day, my family and I went for a drive on some of the back roads in Vanderhoof to explore the beautiful area we moved to less than a year ago. Our sightseeing trip was cut short after coming across a dumping ground where someone had thrown four dead eagles into two different piles. We found the nearest spot to turn our vehicle around on the narrow road and headed for home, sickened by what we had found. As it was a Sunday afternoon, I called the toll free number for the R.A.P.P program to report what we had found. The gentleman on the phone took all the information I gave him and told me he would fax it to the local office right away and someone would be in touch. Over the next few days, I made a couple of trips to the local conservation office, several phone calls to different organizations, and quite a few conversations with people who have lived in this area for years.
I learned four days after reporting the dead eagles that they had been killed by someone who had ‘accidentally’ caught them in their trap line. My frustration began to change direction. Now I am not sure if the trapper did what he did out of fear, or ignorance, but I understand now that if the trapper had called the COs, explained the situation, and turned the birds in, it would have been over. My frustration and anger now lies in the fact that there are ways to go about trapping other animals while limiting the unnecessary and careless killing of these birds, and with the waste of time and money on a department already spread way to thin. My anger also lies with the government. If the government is going to put our tax dollars towards promoting the R.A.P.P. program, then give them the funding to be able to man it properly. I am told there are only eight CO’s to cover the Omineca management unit referred to as 7A. This region runs from Burns Lake to Vanderhoof, up past Ft. St. James, to Prince George, north past Mackenzie, all the way south past Valemount, and to Quesnel. If you factor in holidays, sickness and medical leave, and other absences, at the time I made the report there were only five COs to cover an extremely large area. Considering the lack of manning for an area so large, and the lack of funding, it’s no wonder that this happens and people get frustrated when trying to do the right thing.