Fighting Wildlife Culling
We continue to fight wildlife “resource” managers across the country from designating animals as “overabundant”, a classification that managers use as an excuse to conduct massive killing programmes. These agencies include Environment Canada, Parks Canada, provincial resource agencies and conservation authorities.
Because of your support, we have been very successful. However, our fight continues as these agencies continue to target species including horses, seals, deer and cormorants.
We work collaboratively with organizations across Canada and the United States to develop human-wildlife conflict prevention programmes. These programmes are designed to prevent human/wildlife conflicts and develop non-lethal solutions where conflicts occur.
In addition, we are working to encourage governments to assist wildlife rehabilitators who take care of orphan and injured wildlife, who are the victims of conflicts.
Working with a coalition of other groups, we are urging the federal and provincial governments to end the use of cruel poisons, like Strychnine and Compound 1080.
Most Canadians cannot believe that the federal government still allows wild animals to be poisoned – to suffer an excruciating death.
The federal government licenses the poisons. Health Canada’s Minister, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, oversees the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which regulates and approves the use of such poisons.
The provinces apply to use them. It is provincial governments and pest control companies who apply to use these cruel substances. Only Saskatechewan and Alberta still use the poisons to “manage” wildlife.
Currently, Alberta uses Compound 1080, Strychnine and Sodium Cyanide M-44 cartridges. Saskatchewan uses Compound 1080 and Strychnine.
The poisons are meant to kill animals who come into conflict with farmers – coyotes, wolves and bears (who may predate on sheep and calves), or squirrels and gophers (who may dig holes in fields where farm animals are kept, putting farm animals at risk of leg injuries).
Killing “problem wildlife” does not work. Both Saskatchewan and Alberta have used these poisons for years and continue to do so.
Non-lethal preventive approaches are more effective, cost efficient, humane and better for the environment.
Currently, we are working in British Columbia to oppose deer slaughters and to prevent any additional deer culls, which are being considered by a number of municipalities. Several municipalities have conducted culls already. Click on the following link to read our critique in response to documents provided by the Ministry of Environment and others: Developing a Progressive Non-Lethal Human/Deer Conflict Resolution Strategy for British Columbia.
We also continue to monitor the annual cormorant slaughter at Point Pelee National Park, a bird sanctuary in Southwestern Ontario. Parks Canada’s killing programme for cormorants occurs on Middle Island, a small island on Lake Erie near the U.S. border. In 2009, Parks Canada staff killed 1,589 cormorants, significantly below their stated target of 4,000. We had hope to stop the killing altogether but at minimum to keep the number of birds killed as low as possible and to document the cruelty of the cull. However, in 2010 Parks Canada managed to kill 3,625 cormorants; in 2011, 3,009 birds; in 2012, 3,663 birds; in 2013, 2,490; in 2014, 1,646; in 2015, 1,062; and in 2016, 1,585.
Interestingly, a federal court in the U.S. has ruled that the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) must end their 22-year regime of indiscriminate cormorant shooting in 24 states east of the Mississippi. On May 25, 2016 Judge Bates found that individual permits for removal was sufficient to alleviate “any serious detrimental impact” caused by cormorants and that the FWS ignored the environmental benefits of cormorants. Click here to read the entire press release about this ruling.
In sharp contrast to Point Pelee National Park is Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority staff, who manage the Park in downtown Toronto, continue to take an enlightened, non-lethal approach to the cormorant colony, which is the largest on the Great Lakes. Click on the following link to learn more about Tommy Thompson Park:
How You Can Help
To help the Middle Island cormorants, raise this issue today with Environment Canada Minister Catherine McKenna. Let her know that the slaughter of cormorants on Middle Island, part of Point Pelee National Park, must be stopped. Tell her cormorants are a part of the natural ecology of Middle Island and that it should be allowed to evolve in a natural way. Remind her that there is no way to kill humanely large numbers of birds in the field and that doing so is an archaic, destructive and cruel method of wildlife management that has no scientific or ecological justification.