Ontario Government plan will decimate Double-Breasted Cormorant population in Great Lakes and other regions of the province

EMERGENCY ALERT: GOVERNMENT’S CORMORANT “ERADICATION” PLAN DANGEROUS, WASTEFUL AND REGRESSIVE Ontario government proposal is not a wildlife management

PLEASE SPEND 10 MINUTES OF YOUR TIME PROVIDING INPUT

A Call-Out to All from Zoocheck, a Canada-based international wildlife protection organization

Posted December 21, 2018 on Niagara At Large

The Government of Ontario is proposing a “hunt” of double-crested cormorants that could easily eradicate this important, ecologically beneficial native waterbird from most of the province.

The Government is proposing to:

  • designate double-crested cormorants as a “game” species,
  • create a province-wide annual hunting season from March 15 until Dec 31,
  • allow anyone holding a valid Ontario Outdoors Card and small game hunting license to kill up to 50 cormorants per day (1,500 per month or more than 14,000 per season),
  • including nesting parents and,
    allow the carcasses to spoil (i.e., rot),
  • designate double-crested cormorants as a “game” species,
  • create a province-wide annual hunting season from March 15 until Dec 31,
  • allow anyone holding a valid Ontario Outdoors Card and small game hunting license to kill up to 50 cormorants per day (1,500 per month or more than 14,000 per season),
  • including nesting parents and,allow the carcasses to spoil (i.e., rot).

The Government’s proposal would have numerous terrible consequences to wildlife and natural ecosystems in Ontario including, of course, the wholesale, uncontrolled, impossible to monitor, slaughter of cormorants.

The Government says it is responding to concerns about too many cormorants, depleted fish stocks and environmental damage. But those concerns are largely just anecdotes, complaints and unsubstantiated claims that were debunked long ago.

In reality, cormorants are not overabundant, their numbers are relatively modest, have stabilized and are dropping in some areas. The entire North American double-crested cormorant population is estimated to be less than the population of Toronto, with only about 125,000 birds in the lower Great Lakes.

The Ontario governments proposal is not science or fact based. It is emotional and political and could result in wiping out cormorants in most of the province.

Why?

The Government of Ontario says it is responding to concerns about too many cormorants, depleted fish stocks and environmental damage. But those concerns are largely just anecdotes, complaints from a small, radical segment of the fishing community, and unsubstantiated claims that were debunked long ago. There is no substantive body of evidence proving that cormorants are depleting fish stocks or causing any ecological problems whatsoever.

The reality is that cormorants are a natural part of Ontario’s rich biodiversity and an ecologically beneficial species, being major predators of invasive fish species, like round gobies and alewives, attracting other waterbirds to their nesting sites, and serving other important functions in the ecosystems they inhabit.

A Recovered Species

Persecution by humans and pesticide poisoning all but wiped out cormorants in Ontario on two previous occasions but, in recent years, they have returned and populated those habitats that will support them.

Far from being overabundant, cormorant numbers are relatively modest, have stabilized and are dropping in some areas. The entire North American double-crested cormorant population is estimated to be less than the population of Toronto, with about 250,000 in the entire Great Lakes Basin and considerably less residing in Ontario.

 

Extinction?

Because they are conspicuous birds that congregate in colonies on exposed islands and peninsulas (only about 3% of potential island sites in the Great Lakes are suitable), they are particularly vulnerable, being easily targeted and killed, especially when nesting. Small congregations could be wiped out in just a few minutes or an hour, while larger colonies could be destroyed in just a few days or a week.

Radical cormorant-haters have already attacked colonies under cover of night, destroying nests, stomping on chicks and killing adults. Once the proposed changes to the law come into effect, these people will be given free rein to destroy as many cormorants as they want. It wouldn’t take very many people very long to wipe out most cormorants in the province, leaving just a tiny remnant of their population in a few protected areas. And driving them back to near extinction or even worse in Ontario is a real possibility.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP!

  1. COMMENT ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL REGISTRY POSTING. There’s a 45 day comment period which is up on January 3rd , so please SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS ONLINE TODAY. You can also send your comments by mail to: Public Input Coordinator, Species Conservation Policy Branch, 300 Water Street, Floor 5N, Peterborough ON K9J 8M5.
  2. WRITE TO THE PREMIER. Let Premier Doug Ford know what you think of the plan to allow the mass killing of cormorants in Ontario. Use the PREMIER’S WEBSITE FEEDBACK FORM to provide your input. You can also write to: Premier of Ontario, Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, M7A 1A1.
  3. CONTACT YOUR OWN MEMBER OF PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT. It doesn’t matter what party they represent or what their views (pro or con) are. Let them know what an unnecessary, outdated, environmentally damaging, wasteful and cruel idea this is. Find out what they’re going to do about it. Find your Ontario MPP by CLICKING HERE.
  4. SHARE THIS ALERT AND SPREAD THE WORD. Tell everyone you know who loves birds, wildlife and nature about what’s going on. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or, if you can, an Opinion Editorial or article. Make sure you mention your MPP and what they are doing, or not doing, to protect cormorants and other wildlife.

Learn more by CLICKING HERE

About Zoocheck – Zoocheck is a Canadian-based international wildlife protection charity (#13150 2072 RR0001) established in 1984 to promote and protect the interests and well-being of wild animals. Zoocheck works with a broad range of collaborating partners around the world.

Zoocheck endeavors to promote animal protection in specific situations and strive to bring about a new respect for all living things and the world in which they live.

For more information on Zoocheck and its advocacy work, click on – https://www.zoocheck.com/ .

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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One response to “Ontario Government plan will decimate Double-Breasted Cormorant population in Great Lakes and other regions of the province

  1. Is there a season on double breasted Premiers?

    Remember the passenger pigeon, the dodo, ivory billed woodpecker, etc.?

    Like

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