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 because they are inexpensive and regulations still permit their use.  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. Endangered Species are killed incidentally in snares, and even animals such as moose, caribou, deer, and grizzly bears have been captured and killed in snares intended for canids. In fact, a wildlife manager for the province of Alberta stated the following to the minister of environment in 2012 (AB Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act E17-G-0418) :

Although it is an approved and legal method, traditional snaring techniques used by trappers are known to cause significant suffering for captured wolves and in addition result in considerable numbers of mortalities to non-target species, including grizzly bears.

National Media Coverage demands 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” .

Wolf “Management” Programs in Caribou Ranges kill cougars, lynx, bears, fishers, eagles and more   



Species     Non-targets 00-12
Black bear             12
Caribou                   2
Cougar                163
Deer                      62
Eagles                   40
Fisher                  173
Fox                          3
Grizzly bear             3
Goshawk                 1
Lynx                       70
Moose                    12
Otter                       73
Owl                         12
Small mammals     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 in addition to using the snare comment form above.2009_Buchvorstell_81

KEY POINTS to Consider Including:

i. Killing snares are NOT required to meet the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS), nor do they meet the requirements put for a humane euthanasia as set forward by the Canadian Council on Animal Care, due to prolonged suffering they cause.

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. Snares are indiscriminate killers.  Many non-target animals are captured and/or killed by snares, including species at risk.

v. The scientific community is making a strong case against the in-humaneness and non-selectivity of killing snares, refuting them as an responsible form of wildlife management or conservation, bolstering continued pleas from animal welfare advocates.




The images below are slightly graphic.  We assure you that more disturbing visual documentation does exist if you want to search for it on-line.  However, what these photos depict is one way that snares repeatedly lead to prolonged suffering of an individual.  The images below of a wolf wounded from a neck snare were captured 17 days apart on a remote camera, May 6th and 22nd.  This individual suffered needlessly for a long time prior to dying.  Help end this.



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