An eagle in the Rosedale area struggles to get free from a leghold trap last week. (Submitted photo)

Wildlife centre operator concerned about leg-hold traps

Elizabeth Melnick of Abbotsford says contraptions are injuring innocent animals

The founder and operator of a wildlife centre in Abbotsford is concerned about the number of animals coming into her care that have been injured by leg-hold traps.

Elizabeth Melnick of Elizabeth’s Wildlife Center said she is seeing an increasing number of small animals – such as blue jays, squirrels and opossums – being caught in traps that are set out in open areas.

The devices are generally used to catch nuisance creatures such as rats, but the food placed on them can attract other animals.

“There’s no signage on them that says, ‘Rats only,’ ” she said.

She describes two recent incidents last week that resulted in birds being caught in the traps.

The first occurred in the Rosedale area. Melnick received a call from a man who said he and his wife could see an eagle caught in a trap in an open field, and the bird was frantically trying to get free.

The couple didn’t know how to help the animal, so Melnick advised them to place a blanket over the bird so that it wouldn’t attack them when it saw them approaching.

They were then able to free the bird’s leg from the metal contraption, and it flew away. Its leg did not appear to be injured, but Melnick said the situation could have worsened if the couple had not seen the eagle when they did.

The following night, Melnick received a call from a woman who said her neighbour had set out a trap and a blue jay had become caught.

The woman was able to free it, and Melnick advised her to take it to a nearby veterinarian. The bird’s leg had to be amputated, and it is now convalescing at the wildlife centre before it will be released back to its home, where it had been nesting with its mate.

Melnick said the bird should survive because it still has a large portion of its leg. If the amputation had been higher, it could not have been released back into the wild, she said.

In an earlier incident, Melnick said a squirrel caught in a trap had to be euthanised because its back was broken.

“Those rat traps are very powerful,” she said.

Melnick said most people who use the traps are not aware of the danger to other animals. She advised that the devices not be placed in open areas.

Melnick also advises that people keep their cats indoors, as many of the creatures coming into her care have been injured by them.

She said in May 2017 alone, she had 400 admissions and most were baby animals – bunnies, in particular – that had been caught by cats.

“It’s very distressing … A lot of this stuff can be avoided,” she said.

Melnick has been operating her wildlife centre since for more than 30 years, caring for injured and neglected small wild animals, including bunnies, ducks, geese, sparrows, crows, opossums and squirrels.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

An eagle in the Rosedale area was caught in this leg-hold trap last week. (Submitted photo)

This blue jay had to have its leg amputated after it got caught in a leg-hold trap last week. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Vancouver Giants to stream 2007 Memorial Cup championship game Saturday night

Giants versus Medicine Hat Tigers can be viewed on YouTube at 7 p.m.

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

Nearly 6,200 Langley students set to return to school June 1

School district shared COVID-19 update during board meeting

Adrian’s at the Airport move delayed again

This time, the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame, owner of Langley restaurant says

SHARE: No climate change apparent here

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Most Read