So here's what I know from a total of 8 minutes on the phone with Sustainable Resource Development - the arm of the government that, among its jobs, oversees hunting, fishing and wildlife care and preservation in this province.
- There are something in the range of 10 MILLION ducks in this province.
- 40,000 give or take 5000 are taken ANNUALLY by licensed hunters
- a similar number are killed in a whole variety of ways including by being hit by cars and airplanes and by being eaten.
- Of the ducks that went into the tailing ponds earlier this week, 90% were Scaup ducks - diving ducks - which were forced to land due to freezing rain and, because of their breed habits, look for water - not land - to 'land' on. Ducks are dumb. They don't know that some water isn't a good choice. That lack of reasoning ability on the part of the ducks, however, isn't Syncrude's fault.
The person I spoke to at SRD says that last year they personally killed 1000 ducks for purposes of determining the extent of bird flu.
No, the tailing ponds are not clean and no, they're not very healthy for wildlife but the TRUTH is that it is utterly ridiculous to think that drowned ducks in the numbers that have gone into those ponds is any kind of disaster. It isn't.
As you all know, I'm a conspiracist. I think that Syncrude has been tarred and feathered and that the media is complicit AND that investigative journalism is dead AND that the current slew of reporters isn't asking very good questions nor are they asking the right questions of the right people.
For all of you who live in this province and benefit from its very healthy economy - an economy that is considerably more healthy that that of the rest of Canada ( and Canada is in good shape as compared to Europe), quit yer bitchin'! Our prosperity depends very heavily on the fact that this province supplies a LOT of oil to a LOT of places - 1/3rd of the US oil supply comes from this country.
If the realities of living in an oil-based economy are that unpalatable to you that you not only don't ask your own questions, you also suck down the un-researched stuff you read in the newspaper, then this is not the country for you to live in.
As for asking questions, if you have an Internet connection and a phone, you are in possession of the exact same tools any journalist has; if you don't avail yourselves, you are complicit in any campaign of disinformation that the media chooses to host.
In case anyone is wondering where I got my info, I simply called Sustainable Resource Development and asked them about hunting licenses and what the annual take of ducks (actually all hunt-able fowl - 76,000 annually, approximately). No, there's no link here. That's because I'm bugged that people can't simply put "SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT" - in that format - into Google and find out for themselves. That goes for reporters too....