Manitoulin not included in wolves/coyotes no hunting and trapping proposal, for now

MANITOULIN—Manitoulin Island is not directly included in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) proposal, posted on the environmental bill of rights (EBR), which if it goes ahead would make areas included in it no-hunting or no-trapping areas for Algonquin wolves and coyotes. However, despite assurances the Island is not included in this proposal it still hasn’t alleviated concerns that the Island may be included in a future proposal.

“No, Manitoulin Island is not directly included in the area being looked at for expansion of the no-hunting and no-trapping zone,” said Mark Ryckman, of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), last week.  “If you look at the Algonquin wolf and coyotes EBR recovery strategies maps, no it doesn’t involve Manitoulin Island at this point. Manitoulin Island is not currently included. But realistically, it is a concern for the area being considered now and,  what could possibly come down in the future.”

The MNRF posted on January 15 a 30-day EBR posting for additional input to the recovery of Algonquin Wolf, said Carmen Cotnoir, trapper and vice-president of the Ontario Fur Managers Federation. She explained, in June 2016, the Eastern wolf was renamed Algonquin wolf, as its status is deemed to be threatened. On September 15, 2016 the Ontario government, to better protect the Algonquin extended the no-hunting and  no-trapping zone to 39 new townships including Killarney and Burwash. According to the MNRF, this ban is extended to coyotes because the two animals can be easily mistaken for one another. Now the recovery strategy   for the Algonquin wolf is out, and  looks at extending the current protected areas.

“This englobes a major part of Ontario; imagine a straight line from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury to North Bay to Pembroke down to Bancroft to Peterborough and Barrie.   Using these cities as boundaries what you see in the middle is the suggested protected area banning hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes.”

Yolanta Kowalski, communications spokesperson for the MNRF, told the Recorder in an email, “the posting of this draft strategy, a document developed for MNRF by a third-party consulting firm which offers scientific recommendations for government about how the province, could support the recovery of Ontario’s threatened Algonquin wolf population, will allow the ministry to consider any stakeholder input and concerns before releasing a final recovery strategy-a key step in the recovery process outlined under the Endangered Species Act. The draft recovery strategy was posted on the Environmental Registry January 15 and we are asking for public comment. All the comments received during the posting period will be carefully considered in the next steps of the recovery planning process.”

When asked whether there are any Algonquin wolves on Manitoulin Island, Ms. Kowalski said, “we have sampled the DNA from many canids on Manitoulin. Most are Eastern coyotes but we did confirm one female Algonquin wolf on the island a few years ago.”

John Seabrook of the Manitoulin Fur Harvesters group told the Recorder recently, “the (no hunting, no trapping) boundaries they are proposing are right up to the area before Manitoulin. I think it’s just a matter of time before they look at the Island. They’ll eventually shove this down our throats without the science behind it to justify this.”

Ms. Cotnoir is urging trappers, hunters, livestock producers and pet owners to voice their concerns to the province’s plan to extend the no-hunting and no-trapping zone for the Algonquin wolf and coyotes. “We will all be affected by this proposal,” Ms. Cotnoir told the Recorder. “Farmers, trappers, trappers and pet owners should be concerned. As a trapper I’m very concerned. If species like beavers, deer, moose, fish and turtles are eliminated there will be a huge problem.”

Ms. Cotnoir pointed out the MNRF EBR posting #013-1813 will close for additional public comment as of February 14 by email: MNRF EBR 013-1813 site; by fax: 705-755-2901; by mail: Species at Risk Recovery Section, Species Conservation Policy Branch MNRF, 300 Water Street, 5N, Peterborough Ontario K9J 8M5