Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Animal rights groups protest Ontario's proposed wolf hunting rule changes

'All the groups that are involved in protecting Ontario wildlife are very outraged by this'

CBC News  
Posted: Jan 27, 2016 
 
Very few animals inspire more passion, and controversy, than wolves. It seems they are loved and loathed in almost equal measure.  So last December, when the Minsitry of Natural Resources and Forestry proposed easing hunting regulations on wolves in northern Ontario, as part of its plan to increase moose numbers, there was a lot of reaction — both for an against the move.
Very few animals inspire more passion, and controversy, than wolves. It seems they are loved and loathed in almost equal measure. So last December, when the Minsitry of Natural Resources and Forestry proposed easing hunting regulations on wolves in northern Ontario, as part of its plan to increase moose numbers, there was a lot of reaction — both for an against the move. (Gord Ellis/CBC)
A coalition of animal rights groups is speaking out against proposed changes to wolf hunting in Ontario. The coalition says by easing hunting restrictions, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is making wolves a scapegoat for its mismanagement of moose.

The campaign manager for the Humane Society International in Canada says the move makes no sense."What the government is doing is obviously out of step with science and out of step with what most people in Ontario want," said Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for the Humane Society International in Canada.
Gabriel Wildgen

Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for the Humane Society International in Canada, says "all the groups that are involved in protecting Ontario wildlife are very outraged by [the proposed changes to wolf hunting]." (Humane Society International)

"All of the groups that have spoken out on this issue, all care very much about these precious animals — the moose and the wolves and the coyotes. That are all being threatened by this proposal. Obviously the wolves and the coyotes are being threatened, because the Ontario government is proposing to allow them be killed in higher numbers. And the moose are being threatened because they are not being properly protected."

The coalition includes a number of animal protection groups, such as the Animal Alliance, Coyote Watch Canada, Wolf Awareness and Zoocheck, to name a few.

Playing favourites?

The executive director of the Northwestern Ontario Sportsman's Alliance said he's not surprised the animal rights groups are against the proposed changes — but John Kaplanis said the animal rights groups are playing favourites.

mi-john-kaplanis-300
John Kaplanis, executive director with the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance, says the animal rights groups are playing favourites. (Supplied)

"I find it ironic that these groups would come out in defence of wolves, but they do very little to defend the moose," he said. "We're all as hunters — and conservationists. We are equally as concerned about the moose population."

Kaplanis told CBC News the biology and science relating to wolf predation demonstrates that when "moose population is in a declining state, any additional predation is going to exacerbate that dynamic."

Kaplanis noted that, if anything, there should be even fewer restrictions on hunting wolves. "For the most part the northwestern Ontario Sportsman's Alliance very much supports the direction the ministry is taking in reference to this current EBR recommending changes to wolf management, particularly in northern Ontario," he said.

But the alliance has some concerns with the limit of two wolves, which be taken under the small game licence for residents. "[There] appears to have no rationale for it," Kaplanis said. "The harvest of wolves, historically, by resident hunters, has not been an issue in terms of sustainability. We think that's a bit of overkill on the part of the ministry. But having said that, the rest of the proposal is a good one. We  like that the cost to resident and non-resident hunters is going to come down by removing the seal requirement to harvest wolves. "

The ministry says the proposed changes will not happen until 2017.


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