We all know by now the Province of Manitoba and City of Thompson don't see eye-to-eye on a range of issues. The city's request for more money for municipal policing, construction of a detox here and most recently a correctional facility haven't always had the most receptive of audiences in Winnipeg, to put it delicately. Some would put it even less delicately and say they have fallen on largely deaf ears for years.
So here is a very different good news story of how the Province of Manitoba and City of Thompson yesterday worked co-operatively in sharing ideas and manpower to free one poor lynx on Riverside Drive caught in a fence with his front left leg snared for days in a soft legal trap. And we also have some photographs and even a YouTube video link at http://www.youtube.com/embed/FR7XxDqifjM for you we made courtesy of video from Steve Kirby-McDougall. The lynx wound up at the Riverside Drive home of Steve and his wife, Shawna Kirby-McDougall. Steve spotted it when he was home from Vale for lunch. Shawna works for Manitoba Family Services and Labour Children's disABILITY Services – not far in the Provincial Building on Elizabeth Drive from Conservation and Water Stewardship.
A lynx with a trap on its front left leg is a fairly distinctive sight and it had been spotted at least as early as Monday with the sighting reported to Conservation and Water Stewardship. It had been spotted in the city on the Millennium Trail, sitting in the middle of the trail and not moving, with the trap on its leg. A conservation officer on Feb. 25 found the lynx and followed it some 300 metres into the bush. While reports of wild animals spotted with a trap on one their legs are received on occasion, conservation officers generally never see the animal a second time.
Four days later, the nearest conservation officer was about a 15-minute drive outside the city when they were alerted, but Lyle Saskowski, regional services superintendent here with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, headed to the scene to await the officer and at the same time put in a call for assistance to the City of Thompson's Animal Care and Control Program, run out of the Public Safety Department.
Minutes later, Craig Delaronde, the City of Thompson animal control and protection officer, joined Saskowski at the scene.
"It was Craig Delaronde who suggested we try using his snare pole," said Saskowski. "I give Craig full credit."
A snare pole is a standard tool for dogcatchers and although used mainly for dogs, it can be used even for reptiles, such as large lizards and small alligators. The Ketch-All Company, of San Luis Obispo, California, which has been manufacturing animal control equipment since 1952, says a snare pole can be used successfully on many other animals – "in sizes from squirrels to cougars" and including snakes, alligators, seals and sea lions. Allegedly even for cats. Saskowski said he had never heard of one being used on the normally elusive lynx.
There was one catch, pardon the pun. This is a government story of sorts after all. Delaronde had the idea and the right tool for the job; what he didn't have was the authorization to use it to snare wildlife. Saskowski had a quick solution for that. "We'll take the pole," he said.
By this time the lynx was caught in a fence in the yard on Riverside Drive with the leg with the trap on the other side of the fence. Conservation officers managed to restrain the animal, get the trap off and get it in a cage. They assessed its leg, which was essentially uninjured because it was a soft legal trap, and transported the lynx to a bush area to be released back into the wild.