Ross Saxton: Look at conservation, not new hunting laws, to protect wildlife

This comment was written by Ross Saxton, a Westfield resident.

Calls to protect wildlife through new state laws on hunting and traps have become more focused in the Statehouse recently, which has also made waves on social media and in the news.

Debates ensued about the validity of these newly proposed laws, such as the ban on hunting bears and wolves with hounds, along with stricter regulations on baiting.

Talking and thinking about wildlife can definitely be a great thing for wildlife conservation. However, some of these ‘wildlife protection’ messages are more about animal welfare and distracting from the real solution to protecting wildlife populations – land conservation.

Although animal welfare is an important topic in modern society, it should not be confused with wildlife management. The origin of the proposed new hunting laws appears to be the ethics of certain hunting and trap practices, and while thinking about hunting and trap ethics has always been a worthy endeavor for those who follow the game, what is ethical or ethical should not lead to science-based wildlife conservation in order to achieve goals Administration.

Biologists – the professional scientists tasked with wildlife conservation – clearly do not fully agree that the proposed regulations outlined above will actually conserve wildlife effectively (see VTDigger’s comment”Jacqueline Cuomo: Misinformation distracts from Vermont’s bear conservation success,January 24, 2022, for example).

What is absolutely clear and indisputable is that land conservation is a tried and true strategy for protecting wildlife in our state. Wildlife habitat is under greater threat every year across Vermont as more and more people look to build new homes across our rural landscapes.

Essential habitats for wildlife, including irreplaceable travel corridors, are disappearing and degrading due to development and poor forest management in many places.

However, there is very good news; Vermont is home to many effective land conservation organizations that work daily with private landowners to protect more land and wildlife habitats; These organizations include land trusts, regional conservation partnerships, and municipal, state, and federal commissions and agencies; and non-profit organizations.

The work of these conservation organizations must be the main focus of wildlife protection if we are to achieve true long-term wildlife protection. Making sure these organizations are well funded and supported is, in my opinion, the best thing we can do to protect Vermont’s wildlife for future generations.

No matter your stance on hunting or hunting, let’s team up together and protect as much wildlife as possible through land conservation.

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Tags: animal welfareAnd Habitat threatsAnd Hunting and trapsAnd save the earthAnd Ross SaxtonAnd Wildlife conservation based on scienceAnd wild animals

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