The VOICE of Anglers and Hunters since 1928

Wild Deer, Moose, Elk and Caribou at risk in Ontario: CWD is on our doorstep

Help OFAH keep Ontario CWD-free

PETERBOROUGH – As many hunters enter the woods next week for the annual deer hunt across much of Ontario, we are reminded of how important our natural resources are.

In the wake of three confirmed cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in an area of Quebec just 15 kilometres from the eastern Ontario border, it is a good time for all Ontarians, hunters and non-hunters alike, to recognize the urgency of the CWD threat.

CWD is a highly infectious, incurable, and fatal disease that affects not just deer but all members of the cervid family, including moose, elk and caribou. Unfortunately, Quebec is just one more neighbouring jurisdiction to have a CWD detection. The disease has been previously found in many areas of the United States that connect with Ontario. Where it has been found, governments like Quebec have taken dramatic actions to contain the disease such as culling large numbers of wild deer and cancelling hunting seasons.

“CWD is on our doorstep and the threat of it can no longer be ignored,” says OFAH wildlife biologist Keith Munro. “It will fundamentally and permanently change the natural landscape of Ontario and our hunting heritage. The OFAH is doubling down on our efforts to ensure the necessary action is taken to keep Ontario CWD-free.”

Since 1991 the OFAH has advocated for government action, and while we’re pleased to see the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry move to boost surveillance efforts this fall in eastern Ontario, we are asking them to do more.

“Surveillance cannot prevent CWD from entering Ontario,” Munro states. “It will simply confirm that we failed to take the necessary steps to protect our wild deer populations. We are asking the government to take immediate action in preventing the transport of live captive cervids into and through Ontario, as well as the phasing out of deer farms, with compensation to farmers. If governments continue to ignore the risk the deer farming industry presents to Ontario’s wildlife, history has shown us exactly where this will lead.”

The OFAH recently sent letters to both the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Jeff Yurek, and the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman, re-affirming the urgency for both ministries to act collaboratively to create clear policies to keep CWD out of Ontario.

Hunters are taking steps to help keep CWD out of Ontario.

“As users of the resource and stewards of conservation, we encourage all hunters in areas of the province where the MNRF is conducting surveillance operations to participate,” says Munro. “Without hunters, there is no monitoring and no chance of a rapid response if CWD is detected.”

Whether you hunt or not, all Ontarians can help protect Ontario’s deer, moose, elk and caribou. Please visit www.ofah.org/cwd or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information on Chronic Wasting Disease and what you can do, including contact information for the MNRF CWD Surveillance Program.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Keith Munro
Wildlife Biologist
705-748-6324 ext. 238
keith_munro@ofah.org

Shawn Cayley
Manager of Communications
705-748-6324 ext. 270
shawn_cayley@ofah.org