Thursday, October 10, 2013

With a Bullet

On Tuesday, as the day wore on and afternoon rush hour loomed, options were explored and a decision was made to end the problem.

With a bullet.

Twitter traffic was abuzz in Ottawa with news of the elk near Lebreton Flats, close to the City Centre building. Pictures were snapped and shared across social media. Jokes were made about why the elk was there and how it made its way to that part of the city.

Even I chimed in.

Someone even created a Twitter account for the elk: @ElkPatry.

By all accounts, it was a gorgeous specimen of a male elk. Majestic. But it was cornered, skittish, and after about six hours of being surrounded, became agitated.

Photo credit: Vince Kicknosway, via OttawaStart

If I was lost and surrounded by armed police officers for six hours, I'd be agitated too.

I'm not questioning the police's decision to take down the elk. I don't expect the police to have the expertise or competence to deal with wildlife. If there was imminent danger to the public, I suppose it would have been the last resort.

But where I have a problem with the way things went down on Tuesday afternoon is how Ottawa, which is surrounded in parkland, forests, and wetland, with the National Capital Commission, which has a history of being visited by anything from deer, to moose, to bears, to elk, has no contingency plan for containing and capturing these creatures who encroach on our streets.

Especially, since over the years we've been encroaching on their natural habitats.

In six hours, I can't see how we can't bring in a wildlife team with enough tranquilizing guns to surround the elk and safely deal with the animal.

I hope that the city officials, in the wake of this tragedy and public outcry, take a look and see what it can do to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again.

Because the solution isn't a bullet.

Photo credit: Stu Mills, via OttawaStart

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