Wolf Awareness is a non-profit Canadian organization dedicated to the conservation of wolves through research and public education about wolf ecology.

Put an end to snare use

Date: 27th April 2016

Neck killing snares designed to kill wolves and coyotes are erupting across the country.  Not only do these devices cause extreme and prolonged suffering to wolves, they also kill considerable numbers of non-target wildlife species.

There has been increased attention and discussion across North America surrounding neck snares as a method of killing wolves. A recent article titled Humaneness and Selectivity of Killing Neck Snares Used to Capture Canids in Canada: A Review by Dr. Gilbert Proulx and other wildlife experts appeared in the Canadian Journal of Wildlife Biology and Management (2015: Vol 4, No 1).  

In this review, the authors reveal that although killing neck snares are used on trap-lines across Canada, they have a strong impact on animal welfare and they are not subject to trap performance criteria set out in the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS).

Due to the neck musculature of wolves, neck snares do not cause a quick death.  Instead, there is often  prolonged and excruciating suffering. 

Dwight Rodtka, a retired predator control specialist  for the Alberta government and an expert on snares, has this to say about them:

“A snare is one of the oldest and deadliest devices we use to capture animals, birds, and fish. After hundreds of years their design is still archaic and causes a lengthy torturous death.

They are cheap, easy to use, and very effective, thus their popularity. Death is supposed to be caused by strangulation and a stoppage of blood flow to and from the brain. Under field conditions this can take anywhere from several minutes to days or longer because of the high variability of snare positioning on the body, a malfunctioning lock, weather conditions, or the gait of the animal. In real life death is often caused by dehydration, exhaustion, or freezing. “

In addition, killing snares are not specific in what species they target, and can cause extended suffering to many non-intended animals. They review reminds us that Endangered Species are killed incidentally in snares, and even animals such as moose , caribou , and deer  have been captured and killed in snares intended for canids.

Read this National Media Coverage where Wolf Awareness joins voices to demand that snares be banned:

Wolf culls ensnared in ethical debate: A groundswell of critics believe the century-old method of trapping animals should be done away with.

Below is a list (incomplete)  of animals that were killed from trapping (mostly with snares)  within Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division Districts which contain caribou range, between 2000 – 2012. Data  was collected from voluntary submissions by trappers, so these numbers are a bare minimum.  These lives are considered  “collateral damage” .

Little Smoky Wolf Management Program    2007_Dez_03

Species    Total # of animals
Black bear             12
Caribou                   2
Cougar                163
Deer                      62
Eagle (bld & gldn) 40
Fisher                  173
Fox                          3
Grizzly bear             3
Goshawk                 1                            PAD350
Lynx                       70
Moose                    12
Otter                       73
Owl                         12
Small mammals (marten, mink, skunk, squirrel, weasel)   12
Wolverine               38
TOTAL                  676

There are more humane alternatives and therefore snares  are no longer acceptable and should be phased out as soon as possible!   In the interim, snares should  be on a 24 hour mandatory check.

We encourage you to contact your local MLA or MPP, as well as your Premier and Ministers of Natural Resources and Environment to let them know your thoughts on snares.


KEY POINTS to Consider Including:

i. Killing snares are NOT required to meet the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS).
ii. Snares are cheap and easy to make and therefor widely used, often with several set out in one location.
iii. due to the musculature/anatomy of wolves killing snares cause them prolonged and excruciating suffering.                
iv. The scientific community is making a strong case against the in-humaneness and non-selectivity of killing snares, bolstering continued pleas from animal welfare advocates.

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