The David Suzuki Foundation and Ontario Nature welcomed Ontario’s decision on April 4th, to maintain current hunting regulations for Ontario’s northern wolves and coyotes. In December, 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry proposed to address declining moose populations by making it easier to kill wolves, removing any limit to the number of coyotes that could be killed by licensed hunters, and opening up the hunt to non-residents.
The David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario Nature and other organizations argued that science does not support predator control as a long-term, successful means of managing moose and other prey populations. “We are happy to see that the government has based its final decision on science and precaution,” said Anne Bell, the Director of Conservation and Education at Ontario Nature. “Enlightened wildlife management calls for more than shot-in-the-dark solutions that unwisely target top predators like wolves and coyotes.” There are many potential factors contributing to moose decline in Ontario in recent years. The one certain factor is hunting pressure by humans. Appropriately, the Province has been implementing changes to the hunting regime, and is seeking to better understand the causes of moose decline.
“We hope to have turned the page on this issue,” said Rachel Plotkin, Ontario Science Projects Manager at the David Suzuki Foundation. “For centuries wolves and coyotes have been treated as vermin and problem animals when really they are linchpins in healthy, functioning ecosystems. They continue to be scapegoated and killed as a result of misguided management decisions. This has to change.”