|Province closes season for hunting and trapping wolves
Earthroots says much more is needed to protect the wolf’s future in Ontario
(Toronto) Today Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay, announced his decision to close the season for hunting and trapping wolves and coyotes from April 1st to September 14th in northern and central Ontario. Earthroots welcomes the new restrictions on wolf killing as Ontario has long been recognized as one of the worst jurisdictions in the world for its exploitative wolf management policies. Until this year, wolves were killed year-round by sport hunters and trappers. Earthroots is calling today's announcement a good first step but says much more work still needs to be done to protect wolves and their habitat.
“Earthroots is optimistic that the days of managing the Big Bad Wolf are finally coming to an end,” says Melissa Tkachyk, Earthroots’ Wolves Ontario! Coordinator. “Closing the hunting and trapping season when the pups are vulnerable is an important first step towards improving the conservation of wolves across the province.”
However, Earthroots contends that few wolves are killed during the spring and summer as most wolf hunting and trapping occurs during the late fall and winter when the wolf’s pelt is prime. The environmental group is also concerned that the Minister has yet to move forward on key aspects of the provincial wolf conservation policy which he proposed late last year. Aspects of the proposal that have not yet been implemented include:
Developing and implementing a research and monitoring program to determine the status of wolf populations in Ontario
Requiring wolf and coyote hunters to purchase a special wolf game seal in addition to a small game licence
Limiting the number of wolf game seals to two per hunter per year
“It is of great concern that wolves can still be killed in any number whether for fur, sport or because they are perceived as a nuisance,” said Tkachyk. “Until hunters and property owners are required to report all wolves killed as trappers are currently required to do, the government has little knowledge of the impact these activities are having on wolf populations and the ecosystem they are a part of."
Wolves are only adequately 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."
For more information contact:
Melissa Tkachyk (Ta-caw-chik), Earthroots’ Wolves Ontario! Coordinator - Tel: 416-599-0152 x12 (office) / 416-819-7424 (cell).