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Castlegar to Alberta: take our turkeys (please!)

Castlegar city council says it would be delighted if an Alberta group would capture and move some of its wild turkeys.

Last week the city discussed a letter from the Ministry of Environment, which has been approached by the Alberta Conservation Association about relocating wild turkeys to the southern part of that province. It would happen this winter at no cost to the city.

Biologists have suggested potential capture areas in the East Kootenay as well as Nelson and Castlegar “to focus on surplus and potentially problematic turkeys.”

“This will ideally reduce human/wildlife conflict with problem turkeys within B.C. while also enhancing the population within Alberta,” the association wrote.

They propose to capture 100 to 200 birds this winter and continue moving them for up to 10 years.

Councillor Bergen Price, who recently moved to the Oglow subdivision, said he is “blown away by the herd of turkeys that run rampant around there. You can’t shoot them. You definitely don’t feed them. To have an alternative to be able to get them out of there, I think that entire neighbourhood would join arms.”

Why would Alberta want them?

City manager Chris Barlow said it’s because the turkeys have high sporting value.

“People travel great distances to hunt wild turkey,” he said. “When they first became established here, people came from Vancouver and all over to hunt turkeys, and still do in the spring.”

According to the conservation association, wild turkeys were first introduced into Alberta in 1962. While they are still around, their numbers have dwindled to about 1,000.

The turkeys are to be captured with walk-in box traps. A trial last year resulted in 22 wild turkeys being caught and moved.

“This trap proved to be simple, efficient, and relatively discreet that would be well-suited
to use in an urban setting,” they wrote.

Turkeys in the Oglow subdivision in Castlegar. (Marcella Chernoff/Vista Radio)
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