Work­ing To­gether

Canadian Wildlife - - FROM CWF - Rick J. Bates CEO, Cana­dian Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion

Wel­come to our May/june is­sue. As a nation, Canada has been de­fined by na­ture, per­haps more than any other on Earth. North and south, east and west, each re­gion of this coun­try is a re­flec­tion of its cli­matic and ge­o­graphic re­al­i­ties. Whether you live in the Mar­itime prov­inces, in the North coun­try, on the Pa­cific coast — or any­where in be­tween — who you are and how you live has been shaped by your lo­ca­tion. It has al­ways been true, but even in this time of trans­for­ma­tive tech­nolo­gies, glob­al­iza­tion and mega-cities in Canada, it is still true. Like few places in the world, na­ture con­tin­ues to play a cen­tral role in defin­ing who we are.

Con­sider Banff, Al­berta, and its near neigh­bour, Can­more. For more than a cen­tury, Banff Na­tional Park has been a jewel in the Cana­dian crown, renowned for its spec­tac­u­lar land­scapes and abun­dant and mag­nif­i­cent wildlife. Over that time, the park and the Can­more area have grown into two thriv­ing and cul­tur­ally vi­brant hu­man set­tle­ments. Add in that it is a des­ti­na­tion for mil­lions of vis­i­tors every year, and it is not hard to imag­ine the pres­sure on na­ture. As you will see in the fea­ture ar­ti­cle by lo­cal writer Fraser Los on page 28, the ge­nius of the area is that it has man­aged to bring these two of­ten con­flict­ing trends to­gether in a re­mark­ably har­mo­nious way. It has not been easy, and the ef­forts must con­tinue. Ur­ban ex­pan­sion can’t help but af­fect na­ture, just as wildlife and hu­mans will con­flict where and when their in­ter­ests in­ter­sect. Thanks to the ef­forts of a great many vi­sion­ar­ies over the last 100 years and into the present, a bal­ance has been es­tab­lished. In this way, Banff and Can­more to­gether rep­re­sent the chal­lenges faced by Cana­di­ans across the coun­try. There is a lot we can learn from their ex­am­ple.

There may be no bet­ter il­lus­tra­tion of the clash be­tween na­ture and hu­man de­vel­op­ment than the plight of tur­tles across Canada: all but one of the coun­try’s eight species of na­tive fresh­wa­ter tur­tles are threat­ened, the re­sult of road mor­tal­ity, habi­tat loss, nest pre­da­tion and poach­ing. As you can see in our fea­ture “Slow and Steady” on page 18, Cana­di­ans across the coun­try are de­vot­ing time and en­ergy to help. In the last decade, dif­fer­ent lev­els of govern­ment across the coun­try have stepped up too, cre­at­ing le­gal pro­tec­tions and in­fra­struc­ture to en­sure the con­tin­ued sur­vival of these unique crea­tures. I am proud to say the Cana­dian Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion has been a leader in ad­dress­ing this com­plex prob­lem and now has one of the largest and most multi-faceted tur­tle con­ser­va­tion pro­grams in Canada. There is much work still to be done, and I hope that after read­ing this fea­ture ar­ti­cle (which in­cludes a side­bar on how you can get in­volved), you too will find a way to pitch in. To­gether, we are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

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