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Wolves the necessary predator

By Jim Moodie, The Sudbury Star, Friday, March 4, 2016

Rather than view wolves as the sort of fanged monsters depicted in European fairytales, Northern Ontarians should embrace them as subtle keepers of ecological balance.

That was the argument put forth Thursday night at a presentation hosted by the Sudbury Animal Rights Association titled Living With Wolves: Culls and Conservation.

"We shouldn't really fear that wolves will attack us, because it is so rare," said Hannah Barron, director of wildlife conservation campaigns with Earthroots. "There have only been two fatal attacks (in North America) in the past 120 years."

Indeed, more people in Canada have been killed by deer than by wolves.

Yet wolves are still demonized and scapegoated, she suggested, because they are misunderstood and represent "competition" by preying on many animals that humans also like to target as game.

"Hunters still want to kill a lot of moose, a lot of deer, and trappers still want to take a lot of beaver and make money from their pelts," she said. "So I would say that wolves in Ontario are generally managed as our competition."

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Activists urge the Wynne government to rethink proposed changes to hunting laws involving wolves and coyotes.

Earthroots wildlife campaigner, Hannah Barron, speaks out against proposed changes to wolf hunting: CTV Northern ON news.

 

 

Mercury-blighted community of Grassy Narrows takes its case to the UN

By:  News, Published in the Toronto Star on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Delegation of indigenous Canadians presenting its case in Geneva for safe drinking water for community first poisoned in the 1960s.

Grassy Narrows River Run 2014, Toronto.  Photo credit: Earthroots

 

By any measure, it’s a long way from Grassy Narrows First Nation in northern Ontario to a United Nations proceeding in Geneva. But Judy Da Silva long ago proved she’ll go to any lengths for her people and the generations to come.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said the 54-year-old mother of five, part of a delegation of indigenous Canadians making presentations to a UN committee this week.

“As the days went by, I started understanding how high that forum is! Our message came out really strong as the indigenous people.”

Da Silva took her community’s case for safe drinking water to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, arguing that Canada had violated those rights by failing to address mercury pollution in Grassy Narrows.

Canada signed the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1976. The UN monitors performance by summoning signatory nations for periodic review. Canada was last reviewed in 2006 and this year was up again.

It’s a long way to go for justice. And, since the mercury that poisoned Da Silva’s community was discharged into the English-Wabigoon River system from a pulp and paper mill a half-century ago, it’s a long time to wait.

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For our Water – It’s time to protect Ontario’s Bluebelt!

By Joshua Wise, Ontario Nature

Cook’s Bay in Simcoe County, CREDIT: Joe Mabel

Cook’s Bay in Simcoe County, CREDIT: Joe Mabel

 

The momentum that’s building around growing the Greenbelt (#GrowOurGB) couldn’t come at a better time. The provincial government is currently discussing where and by how much our Greenbelt will grow.

Last week, I attended a meeting in Barrie where 150+ people had gathered to discuss Greenbelt growth in Simcoe County. The event,Bluebelt/Greenbelt: Simcoe’s Watershed Moment had a palpable energy as the newly formed Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition brought together community members, local experts, farmers and elected officials representing all levels of government. The motivating discussion focused on how the Greenbelt can help protect valuable water resources – a unifying issue for a community that is so deeply connected to Lake Simcoe.

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Speak out against the war on Ontario's wolves and coyotes!

Public submissions are due Monday January 18th, 2016.  

It's easy to submit your comments - visit our action centre here.

 

Screen shot 2016-01-02 at 7.24.21 PM

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) initiated the Moose Project to address declines in Ontario’s moose population. 

On December 17th, 2015 MNRF put forward a proposal (EBR 012-6073) to weaken wolf and coyote protection.

Not only does this proposal fail to address moose declines, it continues to endanger at-risk eastern wolves living in central Ontario and encourages the unregulated slaughter of coyotes.

The proposed changes to wolf and coyote hunting regulations in Ontario lack scientific merit and serve to distract the public from the lack of concerted efforts to halt moose declines by prohibiting hunting until the reasons for the decline are fully understood.

Please visit our action centre and take a few minutes to comment on this important issue!

 


Ontario to join BC in trumping science with politics? The ‪War on Wolves‬ moves east.

There is no science to support that reducing the number of wolves in Ontario will boost moose populations.

Speak out for wolves!  You can comment on the ministry's amendment to wolf and coyote hunting regulations in Northern Ontario until Jan. 18, 2016.

 

Proposed wolf, coyote hunting rule changes may benefit moose population

CBC News

Wolf hunters in Northern Ontario are getting what some would consider a Christmas gift from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  

The ministry is proposing that wolves be legally hunted under a small game licence, removing the need for a game seal.

A spokesperson with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters told CBC News the move should make it easier for hunters to target the predator.

"They've eliminated the small financial burden that existed with respect to purchasing game seals, as well as some of the accessibility issues that are experienced in parts of northern Ontario, where a licence issuer could be hard to come by," Mark Ryckman said.

While OFAH supports the MNR proposal, as it should help control wolf predation on moose in the north, Ryckman said an annual harvest limit of two may not be enough to make an impact in areas of high wolf density.

"The idea is to create a benefit for moose populations, by reducing slightly [the] wolf populations in certain areas," he continued.

"Maintaining a two-wolf limit per hunter per year may not actually be sufficient to create a benefit for some moose populations."

But Ryckman concedes completely opening up the wolf and coyote harvest "would just look bad."

"It would seem like they (MNRF) don't care about wolves and coyotes," he said.

"That is not the case. I know they do manage them sustainably, and we support their management program in principle. There is certainly a concern about going too far."  

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

Click here to see the article and listen to the interview.

 

Crombie report hits the mark: Protect Ontario’s most vulnerable water resources

For Immediate Release

Environmental groups applaud Advisory Panel for strong stance on protecting the region’s water 

 

Toronto – Growing the Greenbelt into areas of critical ecological and hydrological significance were among key recommendations put forward by David Crombie, Chair of the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review Advisory Panel, this afternoon in their report “Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015-2041.”

“We are thrilled to see that the Crombie Panel has recommended additional lands be added to the Greenbelt, focusing on vulnerable source water areas,” reported Joyce Chau, executive director of EcoSpark. “Ontarians were loud and clear that the protection of our water and natural systems needed to be elevated in areas beyond the Oak Ridges Moraine and adjoining the Greenbelt.”

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Grassy Narrows First Nation marks 13 years as 'the voice of the forest'

Grassroots blockade against logging trucks north of Kenora, Ont. started on Dec. 2, 2002

By Jody Porter, CBC News

Grassy Narrows First Nation Deputy Chief Randy Fobister gives "great compliments" to the community organizers who have continued to turn away logging trucks since 2002.

Grassy Narrows First Nation Deputy Chief Randy Fobister gives "great compliments" to the community organizers who have continued to turn away logging trucks since 2002. (freegrassy.net)

 

In the beginning, Randy Fobister of Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, disagreed with community members who were stopping logging trucks from entering their traditional territory, but 13 years later the deputy chief says "it's really important the blockade is still there."

A community gathering was held on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the blockade that started on Dec. 2, 2002.

People continue to maintain the site and "protect the land", Fobister said, even as the community considers whether blockade is the appropriate term for what they're doing. He also balks at the word 'activism'.

"I think that word protectors, you know protectors of the land," is preferred," he said. "The forest doesn't have a voice, but First Nations people are the voice."

Read the full article on CBC here.

 

Speak out for Ontario's bears!

 

Until Monday November 30th, you can submit your comments in opposition to the proposed reintroduction and expansion of the spring bear hunt HERE. Speak out with science to stop the spring bear hunt and end the cruel and unsportsmanlike baiting of bears once and for all. 

 

1999, In the spring bear hunt was finally cancelled, saving the lives of thousands of hungry bears from being shot over bait piles after emerging from a winter without food.  The hunt was cancelled to protect bear cubs from being orphaned when their mothers were accidentally and /or illegally killed. 

In 2013, the spring bear hunt was reintroduced as an experiment ostensibly to reduce human-bear conflict.  However, the government’s own science shows that human-bear conflict has nothing to do with the spring hunt. In reality, the number of nuisance bears increases when wild food crops - like berries and nuts – are unusually bad.

Following repeated budget cuts, the provincial Bear Wise program is no longer able to effectively engage northern communities to prevent conflict with bears in times of wild food shortages.  Now the government has proposed an expansion and extension of the experimental Spring Bear Hunt for another 5 years in most of Ontario, with plans to allow trophy hunters from outside Ontario.

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Timing is Everything for the Eastern Wolf

eastern_wolf_attribute_Schorle

Photo Credit: Schorle

Ontario Nature's Blog

Ontario’s eastern wolves are a species of Special Concern. Scientists estimate that there are fewer than 500 individuals left, so why are they not better protected?

Eastern wolves residing in Algonquin Provincial Park and its adjacent townships have year-round protection from hunting and trapping. But wolves outside of those areas are not so lucky. With the exception of Algonquin Park, trappers are permitted to harvest eastern wolves in all provincial parks and conservation reserves.

Hybridization with coyotes also threatens the wolves. And since eastern wolves can only be distinguished from eastern coyotes through genetic analysis, hunters targeting coyotes can unwittingly kill wolves instead.

Read more...

Environmental groups hope to nearly double size of the Greenbelt

"The environmental groups, which include Ontario Nature, Earthroots, EcoSpark and STORM, contend these areas are “critical to a healthy agricultural industry and biodiversity in the region.” They argue that adding them to the Greenbelt would ensure the protection of clean drinking water sources from suburban sprawl in the GTHA."

The Little Rouge Creek winds through Rouge Park, which has been named a Canadian National Park.

LUCAS OLENIUK / TORONTO STAR

The Little Rouge Creek winds through Rouge Park, which has been named a Canadian National Park.

By: 

 

Greenbelt, meet “Bluebelt.”

That’s the vision of a collection of environmental groups that wants to almost double the size of the protected band of land around the Golden Horseshoe to include water systems such as the Oro Moraine and the Humber River headwaters.

The proposal calls for 1.5 million acres to be added to the 1.8 million-acre Greenbelt — already the biggest of its kind in the world — as the Liberal government continues a review of the protected zone that was mandated upon its creation 10 years ago.

Burkhard Mausberg, chief executive officer of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, said the proposal was created through consultations with conservation officers, scientists and environmental groups. It has been submitted to a provincial panel, headed by former Toronto mayor David Crombie, that is preparing recommendations for the future of the Greenbelt. A report is expected in the coming weeks.

“If we were to grow the Greenbelt,” Mausberg asked, “what should we look at? The uniform answer we got back was: Look at water resources. Look at drinking water sources, look at important watersheds, look at coast lines, look at rivers. In essence, make the Greenbelt the ‘Bluebelt.’”

Click here to read the full article.

What’s Next for Ontario’s Greenbelt?

Ontario's 7,300 square-kilometre Greenbelt is undergoing a critical land use review that could determine the fate of one of Ontario's greatest environmental legacies.

BY 

 

When Ontario’s 7,300 square-kilometre Greenbelt was approved by then-Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty in 2005, reaction was mixed.

Some saw the protected space as the best defence against suburban sprawl and the gradual destruction of watersheds, forests, marshes and agricultural land in Canada’s most heavily populated area. Others worried the strict new rules would limit housing stock, jack up home prices and wipe out the nest egg farmers had built in the hope of selling their once-isolated farms to developers.

Now, 10 years after coming into force, the Greenbelt Plan—along with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Niagara Escarpment Plan and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe—is undergoing a co-ordinated land use planning review.

From March to May of this year, the province held regional town halls to solicit public feedback and encouraged municipalities, industries, regions and environmental groups to offer their thoughts on how to strengthen the existing plans.

Here’s why this matters.

Visit Torontoist to read the full article.