Mill Creek Otter several months before it was trapped
Mill Creek Park Otter caught in Conibear trap
A few weeks ago the Mill Creek Otter was caught in a Conibear killing trap in the Lake Newport Wildlife Sanctuary. The perpetrator, Daniel Volpe, had permission from the park managers to trap 'nuisance beaver' and muskrat. However he engaged in illegal trapping activities, including setting several Conibear traps on land, which led to the horrific maiming and assured death of the otter. Volpe was cited, appeared in Canfield Court, and was fined $240.00.
Conibear traps for beaver are incredibly powerful and are designed to crush the animal's skull, neck, spine and rib cage. They can break a grown man's arm and smaller sizes can break fingers. In a sense, these traps are humane, because, if set properly the animal is assured a quick death. Proper setting involves submerging the trap in water so that the animal drowns as well.
The Oldster managers of Mill Creek Park have outdated, dangerous views on the animals that inhabit the park. They use labels like Nuisance Animals, Diseased Animals, Invasive Species and Overpopulation to instill fear in the public and create an atmosphere of conflict between the animals and people. The park managers then engage in wholesale slaughter of large numbers of these creatures based on fear, faulty reasoning and outdated, game management practices. Additionally many 'non-target' non nuisance are most likely trapped as they inhabit the same environs a the muskrat and beaver. The Otter is the obvious example, as are other creatures such as herons, mergansers and mink which hunt for fish in beaver and muskrat burrows.
With advent of the internet, Social Media and digital photography, the animals of our Park are now international celebrities. The photos above have been seen by hundreds of thousands of people locally and worldwide. Thousand of people travel yearly to the park, specifically to enjoy and photograph the animals of the Park. These creatures are accepting of humans and daylight. They feel safe, and people can get close to them for clear photographs and general enjoyment. Bald Eagles, Large Whitetail Bucks, Otters, Mink, Foxes, Coyotes, Wild Turkeys, Owls, Herons, Raccoons are regularly seen at close range in the park.
The animals have become ambassadors for our community, particularly the community of New Young's Town. International business people, when seeing the Bald Eagles, are instilled with a sense of confidence about our community. Families wishing to move here view the animals as valuable educational tools for their children.These animals are our friends who make us money and create a good reputation for our community. They are Community Treasures and should be treated as such.
* For the record, I spend time nearly every day in Mill Creek Park, I grew up on farms, spent much time hunting and trapping, and majored in Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University for 2 years.
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