Liberal candidates donate to wildlife feeding program

Tom Shypitka and Doug Clovechok donate $10,000 towards program to help feed elk in tough winter conditions.

Pictured above: Doug Clovechok

Pictured above: Doug Clovechok

Two local B.C. Liberal constituency associations are donating $10,000 towards a program that will help feed elk and deer who are struggling through a tough winter.

The money, $5,000 each from the Kootenay East and the Columbia-River Revelstoke constituency associations, will go towards the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund, which are setting up feeding areas for ungulates in the region in response to the extreme amount of snowfall this winter season.

B.C. Liberal candidates Tom Shypitka, running in Kootenay East, and Doug Clovechok, representing the party to the north in Columbia River-Revelstoke, joined Carmen Purdy, president of the President Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund, and Rod Guimont for a trip out to Cherry Creek where a truckload of hay was distributed at a feeding area.

“We’re reaching out a little bit,” said Shypitka. “We’ve seen the concerns and we’ve heard the concerns from wildlife lovers and hunters and everyone in between. We’ve had a huge dump of snow, everyone’s seen it and we were losing our ungulate population to starvation. So we’re out here feeding some elk today, we’re going to try and preserve what we have. Numbers are low already so this is kind of survival mode that we’re in right now.”

Clovechok agreed.

“What we’re trying to do is get these elk through the winter,” said Clovechok. “It’s been a tough, tough winter for them, and we’re helping them out trying to get them over the next step until the spring comes.

“Up in Columbia-River Revelstoke, we’ve seen drops in ungulate populations, specifically elk is the big one for me, so it’s important because we’ve got to get our numbers back up.

Purdy said feeding was vital staving off starvation for the elk, which are experiencing a hard winter, and should be part of a longer-term solution.

“Long term, in places like Sweden, Norway and Denmark, they feed every year,” Purdy said, “and as the valley bottoms fill up with people, it may be that we will be feeding in certain areas quite frequently.

“But in severe winters or every 10 years or something like that, we have to feed them. We should have a contingency fund, like a forest fire fund. We do it in lots of other areas, about $375,000 to $500,000 in a fund.”