Province Ensures Conservation of Wolves

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The Ontario government is implementing the strongest measures ever taken to conserve and protect the province’s wolf population, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced.

"By introducing a closed season in central and Northern Ontario, we are protecting wolves in areas that have resident wolf populations," said Ramsay. "We want to ensure that wolves continue to play a key role in Ontario’s ecosystems."

Effective this year, the closed season will run from April 1 to September 14 and will cover all of central and northern Ontario, excluding the islands of Manitoulin, Cockburn and St. Joseph, which do not have resident wolf populations. These restrictions also apply to coyotes due to the difficulty in distinguishing between the two species in the wild. The coyote season in southern Ontario remains open all year.

"The Government of Ontario has gradually and consistently been making good progress in wolf conservation," said Monte Hummel, president emeritus of World Wildlife Fund-Canada. "This has ranged from updating regulations to be on an equal footing with other jurisdictions, to implementing protection measures around Algonquin Park which demonstrate real leadership."

Today’s announcement reflects public input into a November 2004 posting on the Environmental Registry website of the proposed wolf strategy and conservation actions. The government is continuing to review comments about other aspects of the wolf strategy and conservation actions.

The government is continuing to review comments about other aspects of the wolf strategy and conservation actions. These include proposals to develop and implement a research and monitoring program for wolves and a requirement that wolf and coyote hunters purchase special game seals. Also being considered is whether hunters and farmers who kill wolves or coyotes in defense of property should be required to report their harvest. Ramsay also plans to establish a wolf advisory committee in December 2005, to review additional wolf information as it becomes available.

"This plan reflects what the O.F.A.H. expects to see in sound wildlife management. It will improve the ministry’s knowledge about total wolf harvest, give MNR wildlife professionals the data they need to defend, and perhaps enhance, wolf hunting and trapping in the future," said Mike Reader, executive director of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. "This will ensure that Ontario remains a world leader in its ability to conserve wolf populations for everyone with an interest in wolves."