Ontario Government Reviews Nuisance Bears

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Ontario has launched a nuisance bear review and unveiled membership of the review committee, Natural Resources Minister Jerry Ouellette announced today.

The Nuisance Bear Committee, which will begin meeting immediately, will be chaired by Royal Poulin, former General Manager of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and current Chair of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. Committee members include Glenn Witherspoon, Mayor of Fort Frances; John Knight, Professor, Wildlife Department, Sir Sandford Fleming College; and Dr. Martyn Obbard, Ministry of Natural Resources biologist and nationally renowned bear biologist.

"I am very pleased that we have been able to put together a committee of this calibre to review all aspects of the nuisance bear issue in Ontario," said Minister Ouellette. "The committee will define the scope of its work, including consultation and input from across Ontario."

The committee will review the biology, literature and geographic and socio-economic factors relating to perceived nuisance bear problems in Ontario. It will also look at the municipal impacts and compare the effects of bear harvesting from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

To help alleviate nuisance bear problems in parts of Ontario, a proposal to allow for the chasing of bears with dogs will be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry. This proposed change would allow daytime pursuit, chase and search for bears, but would not permit the capturing or killing of black bear.

A number of U.S. states currently permit dogs to be used to chase bears, including Michigan, Maine, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, North and South Carolina and West Virginia.

The public is invited to comment to the Ministry on the proposal.