More research, not moratoriums on hunting and trapping, will do more for Algonquin area wolves that face challenges from genetic pollution and changing or loss of habitat.
Yesterday’s announcement by the Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) placing a 30 month moratorium on wolf hunting and trapping in 39 townships around Algonquin Park does little to actually help the wolves and may actually have detrimental effects on people living in the area including farmers, trappers, guides and outfitters.
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Executive Director Mike Reader said his organization cares very much about wolves, but he noted that the decision by the Ministry exceeded the recommendations provided by the Algonquin Wolf Advisory Group (A.W.A.G.). The Group had recommended a combination of limited seasonal closings on wolf hunting and trapping in townships around the park, not a moratorium.
Following the A.W.A.G. recommendation, further research by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (C.O.S.E.W.I.C.) clearly noted that eastern wolves, like those found in Algonquin, are not a rare sub-species nor are they threatened. In Ontario, the eastern wolf population appears stable or growing.
As well, park authorities also confirmed the Algonquin wolf population appears to have remained stable for the past 30 years.
The only good news in Mr. Snobelen’s announcement was that more research will be conducted toward the long term conservation of wolves. The O.F.A.H. remains concerned that hunting and trapping are being blamed, but, in reality, the Algonquin wolves are being forced to leave the park in search of prey. The park forest is maturing and no longer supports populations of beaver or white-tailed deer on which wolves feed.
Research will reveal that the moratorium on hunting and trapping is ineffective and unnecessary. We also urge consultation with the various interest groups to determine the best management plans for both wildlife and for the people who live, recreate and work in these areas, added Reader.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and trappers’ associations offered a proposal that would allow hunting and trapping around the park and, at the same time, ensure the conservation needs of the wolves. The O.F.A.H. believes enhancing prey populations and habitat is key to sustaining wolves.
For more information about this issue, contact O.F.A.H. Communications Specialist Mark Holmes at 705-748-6324, fax to 705-748-9577, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org