British Columbia

Vancouver skunk caught in trap: $1,000 reward offered

An animal advocacy group is offering a $1,000 reward after a skunk was found caught in a leg-hold trap in a Vancouver neighbourhood.

A wildlife group doesn't want traps in cities

An injured skunk is recovering from injuries after getting caught in a leg-hold trap on August 21, 2016. (Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C.)

An animal advocacy group is offering a $1,000 reward after a skunk was found caught in a leg-hold trap in a Vancouver neighbourhood.

"People are probably trapping because they're having problems with nuisance animals, and we like to highlight there are a lot of non-lethal alternatives for dealing with skunks and raccoons. Residents should look into those alternatives first," said Adrian Nelson with the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.

The skunk was found in a residential back yard near East 49th Avenue and Fraser Street on August 21. The skunk is recovering, but Nelson says the trap was likely illegal, and he's hoping to identify the person who set it.

"It's not like these are large properties, so it's quite possible someone in the neighbourhood has seen someone doing something, or heard someone was having an issue with skunks, so we're hoping the reward will be an incentive for someone to come forward," he said. 

The B.C. SPCA says traps shouldn't be used for skunks.

The group's website reads, "Trapping is inhumane, ineffective and is only a temporary quick-fix." 

"Skunks can be injured in traps and if removed, it is only a matter of time before another skunk moves in to claim the existing food source and shelter." 

Few regulations against traps in B.C. 

In British Columbia, homeowners are allowed to kill what they consider nuisance wildlife. Licensed trappers can lay down traps on Crown land without notifying the public, as long as they are not within 200 metres of a residence.

Nelson says the fact that traps can be placed within city boundaries concerns his group. 

"It's something very unsettling to us, that someone's putting these out in fairly urban residential areas," he says. 

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals has been calling on the provincial government to change its regulations and allow municipalities to ban traps for several years now. 

The Ministry of Forests says the policy is being reviewed, and in the meantime, requests from individual municipalities are being considered.

Nelson says the government is dragging its feet.

"We've had conversations, but every year trapping regulations at [municipal conventions] go by, and there's no movement and no change on it," he said.