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41 coyote carcasses discovered in southern Alberta
Published Saturday, April 24, 2010 1:33PM MDT
Some Alberta residents are raising questions about the province's coyote hunting policy.
This comes after dozens of dead coyotes were found dumped on a roadside near Cypress Provincial Park.
All of the animals were missing a body part and fish and wildlife officers believe bounty seekers may be to blame.
They're born predators and for Alberta farmers, coyotes can be a serious threat to livestock.
"If you have a farm and you have problems with coyotes you can dispense of them, they are euthanized on farm property across the province," said Sustainable Resources Development Minister Mel Knight.
There's no limit on how many coyotes can be killed.
But nature photographer Rick Price is questioning that policy after a disturbing incident last weekend.
"I am not one for more laws, but when you see carnage like this something has to be done," commented Price.
Price is referring to an incident that occurred last Saturday.
He saw a man transporting a truckload of dead coyotes.
It turns out the driver had discovered 31 coyotes illegally dumped in front of his farm near Elkwater.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating and officers have since found another 10 dead coyotes along a stretch of road nearby.
41 animals were found in total and investigators tell CTV News all of the coyotes had been shot and their paws were cut off.
"I have been doing this job for 30 years and this is the first time we have seen coyotes with their paws removed. In all likelihood, the coyotes were taken for the bounty," said Alberta Fish and Wildlife Superintendent Jim Mitchell.
The Saskatchewan government launched a bounty last fall to control its coyote population.
Until last month, hunters could collect $20 per animal if they brought in its paws.
And although it's legal to kill coyotes for a cross-province bounty, the Alberta government doesn't support it.
"We would not condone that kind activity of course," said Knight.
But some, like animal advocate R.J. Bailot, say bounties need to be outlawed.
"It's no longer a protection of their livestock, it becomes a sport of how many animals can be slaughtered and then these people are getting paid to do it," said Bailot.
If caught, the only penalty the hunters could face is for littering, which carries a fine of up to $500.
The Saskatchewan bounty program ran for five months and in that time hunters eliminated over 18,000 coyotes.