Pheasants Head East

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Wildlife officials from Saskatchewan Environment and Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources are capturing wild ring-necked pheasants along the South Saskatchewan River near Leader.

It is hoped that between 50 and 100 birds will be captured by the end of the week and then flown to Ontario over the weekend.

Saskatchewan Environment biologists say the capture, which is being carried out with help from local landowners and members of the Sandhills Wildlife Federation, will not affect the local pheasant population.

"We have a strong local population in the Leader area that will not feel the effect of transferring a few birds," Environment conservation officer Kevin Fitzsimonds said. "Sending the birds to Ontario to help build a wild population there is a way for us in Saskatchewan to help increase and maintain the pheasant population right across the country."

In January of 2002, 45 Saskatchewan pheasants were successfully transplanted to a rural area near Sarnia, Ontario.

"The availability of Saskatchewan birds offers a promising opportunity to rehabilitate a self-sustaining, wild population of ring-necked pheasants in southwestern Ontario," Pud Hunter of Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources said.

The program is expected to carry on for the next several years, with approximately 200 birds eventually being captured and transferred to Ontario.