The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is home to many awesome animals, like this wolf photographed by one of the Park Reserve’s motion detection wildlife cameras at Willowbrae-Halfmoon Bay Trail. (Photo - Pacific Rim National Park Reserve)

Behest of the West: Wolf Advisory should have included dog ban at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

What is a Wolf Advisory if dogs are still being welcomed?

‘Be smart don’t start.’

‘Too much smoke will leave you broke.’

‘Tobacco companies kill their best customers.’

The world isn’t short on catchy slogans to steer us away from cigarettes.

Smokers are well aware of the ridiculousness of their habit. We’re forced to look at particularly gut-wrenching pictures every time we reach for our packs and the science is all too clear that we’re hurting our health, our bank accounts and our loved ones.

We’re all quitting too. It’s a tough slog—a Journal of Clinical Pathology study conducted in 2005 suggested it took over 30 quitting attempts for many smokers to kick the habit—but the smoke section is clearly emptying out at an impressive rate.

I’m not so sure slogans can take direct credit for the decline, though they do give ammunition to non-smokers looking to throw judgemental quips our way.

Public perception is powerful and slogans strengthen stink-eyes.

The kicker however was forcing us out of bars, pushing us away from doors and then out of public places altogether.

That took away the social aspect of it all and frankly made smoking hard to do.

No one wants to leave a good bar conversation or key televised sports moment to blacken their lungs.

Slogans are catchy, but the rules get the point.

‘Scare don’t stare.’

‘Keep wildlife wild.’

‘A fed bear is a dead bear.’

When it comes to coexisting with animals, the West Coast isn’t short on slogans.

We’re not short on desire either.

Nobody around here wakes up one morning wanting to habituate a predator. Carelessness or ignorance are the excuses, not malice.

No one’s cackling as they leave their garbage unsecured, or let their dogs run loose in the Park Reserve.

We’re all aware that we share this peninsula with a variety of fascinating and awesome animals. If we didn’t like being around them, we’d move. This isn’t the land of opportunity; life’s easier in other places. Our nature keeps us here.

We’re all trying to coexist. It’s a tough slog, but we’ve made strides. We don’t doom nearly as many bears as we used to and, knock on wood, it looks like Ucluelet might have a nice little success story to celebrate. A bear recently wandered through our community and appears to have found its way back to the forest without getting lured towards any left-out attractants. That would be something to cheer if we weren’t all throwing our angst at each other and searching for whom to blame in the wake of a killed wolf. Throw any anger you have towards the Park Reserve’s staff out the window.

It’s misguided nonsense to suggest that the folks who have committed their lives to careers in wildlife conservation would want to end the life of any animal they’ve signed on to protect.

This is a problem we caused and forced them to deal with.

It is mind boggling though that the leashed dog the wolf attacked was in the Park Reserve to begin with and it’s bizarre that the bosses of those same people who chose careers in wildlife conservation aren’t taking more of a lead and laying some enforceable laws down.

We need a dog ban.

Park Reserve staff can’t enforce the leash laws. It’s proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be impossible for a variety of reasons. They’ve had years to try to make it work. It’s time to give up on that.

No one’s entirely sure who came up with the ‘Insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result’ quip first, but it’s an apropos adage here.

The Park Reserve’s unwillingness to drop a ban-hammer on dogs during the summer, or at least the shorebird window, is as perplexing as it is frustrating. It’s a legitimate shame that the dog-ban they implemented in the wake of a wolf attack in March lasted only a few days.

What is a Wolf Advisory if dogs are still being welcomed?

Slogans are great at giving locals ammunition to put tourists in line, but, while those slogans have helped, they need some help themselves.

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