MNR cancels proposed Manitoulin Island wild turkey, pheasant study

MANITOULIN—For Island residents who had been hoping that wild turkeys would be released on Manitoulin Island one day in the future, it appears that dream will not take place, based on an announcement last week by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Rick Calhoun of the MNR told the Recorder last Friday, “the environmental assessment work that was being carried out to look at relocating wild turkeys and pheasants to Manitoulin has been indefinitely postponed.”

Mr. Calhoun explained the reason for this decision has to do with the costs involved to carry out the study. “It would cost a significant amount, between $920,000 and $1 million plus, and in this economic time it was deemed not feasible as this project is outside the core business work of the ministry.”

“And combined with the significant economic concern, there was concern that if the introduction of wild turkeys and pheasants took place, and concerning affects they would have on other species at risk, it was decided it would not be appropriate to go ahead at this time,” continued Mr. Calhoun. “Therefore the environmental assessment project has been indefinitely postponed.”

However, Mr. Calhoun pointed out the ministry will complete the work it has already begun in preparation for the full EA. The ministry, “spent $80,000 last year on a project designed for Manitoulin on the Bruce Peninsula, which already has wild birds. Studies were undertaken on the birds behaviour and feeding habits. This part of the project will be completed this year. Last year we trapped some of the wild birds and put radio collars on them (on the Bruce), and we will be capturing some this year to get information we had been looking for. This will form the knowledge we will need in the future if this project ever comes up again.”

 Tom Sasvari