April 6, 2016
Ontario Government Scraps Proposal to Increase Hunting of Wolves and Coyotes
Animal protection and conservation groups encourage responsible approach to wildlife management
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has scrapped a plan to allow increased killing of wolves and coyotes across the province. The poorly-conceived proposal was branded as an effort to protect moose populations, yet even the province’s own data showed that the indiscriminate killing of predators is not an effective wildlife management practice.
A coalition of animal protection and conservation organizations in Ontario and across Canada worked to oppose this proposal. The coalition is comprised of: Animal Alliance of Canada, Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada, Born Free, Canadians for Bears, Coyote Watch Canada, Earthroots, Humane Society International/Canada, Wolf Awareness and Zoocheck. The groups released the following statements in response to the MNRF’s proposal:
"We welcome the Ontario government's decision to scrap their ill-advised proposal to increase the hunting of wolves and coyotes,” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for HSI/Canada. “The Ontario public cares about animals, and it would be simply inexcusable to allow the indiscriminate killing of some of our most majestic wild animals at the behest of special interest groups. The best available science does not support scapegoating and targeting of a species to make up for wildlife and habitat mismanagement."
“On behalf of our supporters, we are grateful that the Minister will not proceed with changes to wolf and coyote hunting regulations. The greatest significance in our view is that coyotes in northern communities will not be subjected to all year open hunting seasons as happens to their southern Ontario counterparts,” said Liz White, director, Animal Alliance of Canada.
"The fact that the Minister listened to the science and acted accordingly is very encouraging indeed. Decisions about wildlife management should be based on science, not antiquated prejudice against predatory species such as wolves, coyotes and bears,” said Barry MacKay, senior program associate for Born Free.
"We commend the government's decision not to go forward with the proposal to liberalize the hunting of coyote and wolf populations. We must highlight that the eastern coyote is currently the most persecuted canid with little regulatory protection in most of Ontario. Game seal limits and mandatory reporting on hunting and harvest activities of this keystone species must become a province wide objective," said Lesley Sampson, founding executive director, Coyote Watch Canada.
"We are pleased that the Ontario government has committed to continue monitoring hunting activity in Central Ontario, the range of the at-risk eastern wolf. This decision signals a positive step in the recovery of this unique wolf species, while continuing to prioritize the conservation of northern Ontario's grey wolves and eastern coyotes," said Hannah Barron, director of wildlife conservation, Earthroots.
“Wolf Awareness commends the MNFR for this sound decision," says Sadie Parr, executive director of Wolf Awareness. "Ontario has taken a progressive step in terms of managing wild canids based on science, ecology and mass public sentiment. The Ontario government is acting responsibly, unlike Canada's western provinces where a misguided war on wolves is underway.”
- On December 17, 2015, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Bill Mauro signaled his intent to relax protection for wolves who are hunted by opening up the wolf and coyote hunting season in the Northern area from mid September to the end of March beginning in 2017.
- Hunters would have been allowed to kill two wolves with no limit on the number of hunters, while the coyote kills would have been unlimited. No game seals would have been required to hunt either for wolves or coyotes.
- Wolves and coyotes both play hugely important roles in their ecosystems. When they are killed, negative repercussions on many other species and ecosystem processes often ensue. Furthermore, disrupting the social structure of wolf or coyote families through over hunting and trapping has been shown to lead to increased conflicts with humans, wildlife and livestock.
Media Contact: Christopher Paré, firstname.lastname@example.org, 514 395-2914