Resolution 2-19 asks the Ministers of Environment and Parks and Justice and Solicitor General to enhance the Wildlife Predator Compensation Program to allow for photographic evidence to reduce the number of Fish and Wildlife Officer investigations. Many of the ASBs felt that the response time in some areas of the province was too long due to the short supply of Officers to investigate the claims particularly during peak hunting seasons where there are high demands for their time.
In 2019 a committee was formed to evaluate option to improve the Predator Compensation Program, and the Chair of the ASBPC attended on behalf of the ASBs. At the first meeting 8 desired outcomes of the review were identified:
- Reduced incidences of predation and damage in pilot regions
- Increased producer participation in carnivore conflict mitigation efforts
- Increased landowner awareness and understanding about living with wildlife
- Wildlife populations remain healthy
- Improved producer satisfaction with the Wildlife Predator Compensation Program
- Relationships between landowners and Fish and Wildlife Officers is maintained or improved
- Broad industry and public support for the program
- Improved, practical and scalable Predator Conflict Prevention and Predator Compensation Programs developed.
In 2020 the review was put on hold and all committee work stopped while the COVID 19 Public Health crisis was dealt with. However changes to the Alberta Wildlife Regulation did proceed to enable additional qualified professionals to conduct investigations related to predation claims. The department is also supportive on use of photographic evidence to support claim applications. To assist landowners, a Rancher’s Guide to Predator Attacks on Livestock is available. The department is now looking at resuming the review of the program and was grateful for the engagement and feedback from the ASBPC.
Questions were asked about the number of claims and levels of compensation. The Committee was told that the program has an annual budget of approximately $350,000 which is provided by a levy collected by the Alberta Conservation Association from the sale of hunting and sport fishing licenses. An average of 249 claims per year have been submitted to the program from 2008-2019, with an average of $1296/claim.
The issue of availability of Fish and Wildlife officers to investigate and process claims was discussed. It was pointed out that the ASB Act grants the ability for Agriculture Fieldmen to enforce any legislation related to agriculture and it was suggested that this would apply to the Wildlife Act and Regulations as pertained to the Wildlife Compensation Program investigations. This was noted and will be reviewed further.
Also discussed was the “Enhanced Officer” position created in partnership with the Justice and the Solicitor General in Northern Sunrise County. A few of the municipalities with high numbers of predator incidences were approached by Fish and Wildlife to hire a qualified officer to handle the increased number of incidents during peek season. The “Enhanced Officer” position was paid for by the County, and Fish and Wildlife provided the officer, equipment and training. Travis was aware of the Enhanced Officer program but was unsure of how the program functioned. Travis was not aware that Justice and the Solicitor General had identified a need for increased number of officers and will be reaching out to them to provide that feedback to the ministry of Environment and Parks.
The review committee is slated to resume the review and work on the 8 identified outcomes in the coming months, and the Agriculture Service Board Provincial Committee will be appointing a representative to be on that committee at their organizational meeting in November. Any ASB wanting to provide further direction and feedback is asked to connect with the ASBPC through our email, website or by phone.
Further Background Information:
Cattle and Carnivore Coexistence in Alberta: The Role of Compensation Programs
Wildlife Predator Compensation Program – Alberta.ca
In 2018 the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP), Alberta Lamb Producers, Western Stock Growers Association, Alberta Grazing Lease Holders Association, and the Waterton Biosphere Reserve published a paper recommending changes to the Wildlife Act and Regulations based on an ABP resolution. Alberta Livestock Industry Recommended Changes to the Wildlife Act and Regulations – Alberta Beef Producers et al. Resolution.
Alberta Livestock Industry Recommended Changes to the Wildlife Act and Regulations – Alberta Beef Producers et al. Resolution 2018.
- Resolution 5-18: Wildlife Predator Compensation Program Enhancement
- Resolution 6-20: Beehive Depredation