|Earthroots says Minister Ramsay is leading the pack in the right direction
10 July, 2005 (Toronto) Earthroots congratulates Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay, who today announced his decision to improve the conservation of wolves across the province. The Minister will regulate the recreational hunting of wolves by limiting the number each properly licensed hunter can shoot to two per year. Effective September 15th, hunters who want to shoot wolves, must now purchase a special wolf seal. Ontario hunters will have to pay $10 for the seal but non-residents will have to pay $250. Earthroots hopes this will lead to an end to sport hunting wolves; an activity that Americans are predominantly participating in. The Minister is also making it mandatory to report all wolves killed regardless of the method and reason.
"The days of managing the Big Bad Wolf are finally coming to an end," says Melissa Tkachyk, Earthroots' Wolves Ontario! Coordinator. "These new regulations will enable the government to better assess how many Eastern or Gray wolves are killed each year for sport or to protect livestock and the impact this is having within the ecosystem."
Earthroots welcomes the new regulatory improvements calling today's decision a good first step but says more work still needs to be done to protect wolves and their habitat. Wolves are only protected on 3% of their range in the province, while 97% is still open to hunting and trapping. Only a few parks are off-limits to hunters and trappers and large enough to sustain a viable wolf population.
"There is clearly an imbalance between the percentage of the province where wolves are managed as game and the few protected areas, off-limits to traps and bullets where wolves can just be wolves," says Tkachyk. "Keeping critical wolf habitat areas free of exploitation is necessary if we want true wilderness in Ontario."
Ontario had long been recognized as one of the worst jurisdictions in the world for its exploitative wolf management policies. Up until this year, wolves were treated as vermin and could be killed 365 days of the year without any limitations. This is the first time in the history of Ontario, that there are restrictions on killing wolves across the majority of their provincial range.
There is still no limit on the number of wolves each trapper can kill. Earthroots says between 500-600 wolves are trapped every year for the commercial sale of their pelts. The majority of wolves are caught in strangling neck snares, which Earthroots calls ‘a cruel and non-selective’ trap.
For more information, please contact:
Melissa Tkachyk (Ta-caw-chik), Earthroots (416) 599-0152 x12 (office), (416) 819-7424 (cell)
The final Strategy for Wolf Conservation in Ontario is available on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry. To view the strategy, visit www.ene.gov.on.ca/samples/search/Ebrquery_REG.htm and enter EBR Registry Number PB04E6020.