Stop Ford’s Plan To Wage A War of Extermination on Ontario’s Double-Crested Cormorants

A Brief Foreword to the following appeal to you from the wildlife advocacy group Zoocheck to help stop this destructive hunt from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper –

Posted December 27th, 2018 

When are we humans going to stop playing God with the web of life on this planet?

Just look at the lengthening  lists of extinct and endangers species of life that we have  racked up already – even as we recklessly work our way to making one of the two lists ourselves. 

How much more playing around with nature are we going to do? Haven’t we done enough?!

Apparently not according  to Doug Ford, who is Ontario’s answer to Donald Trump and arguably the most block headed excuse for a premier this province has ever had.

Just as there are still some out there in the tin-foil hat crowd who believe that it was “the commies” who put fluoride in our drinking water to undermine the health and well-being of God-fearing North Americans, Ford is reviving the old saw that we have to declare a shooting war on double-crested cormorants because they are stealing too many fish out of our rivers and lakes.

It is the same old song humans have played time and time again when populations of whatever other living thing we want to “harvest” for our purposes grow too thin for our liking – blame some other species, whether it be wolves or bears or double-crested cormorants. Then get out the guns and blast away.

I remember going to a public meeting about 35 years ago at the old Beacon Motor Inn overlooking Lake Ontario in Lincoln when a former provincial government was hell-bent on blaming and killing off cormorants for allegedly being a major cause in a drop of fish populations.

I was a full-time environment reporter for The St. Catharines Standard at the time, and had met a good number of representatives from hunters and anglers groups who were also actively involved in wildlife conservation projects, but these weren’t the people who showed up at this public meeting.

The ones at the meeting looked and acted like they could hardly wait to get a green light from government to squeeze off round after round at almost anything that looked like a cormorant. When I went out of my way to ask them if they were just as concerned that the destruction of spawning grounds from shoreline development and pollution may  be playing a role in declining fish populations, they got angry at me, as if I was out to ruin their fun.

Fortunately, there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant an all-out war on the birds, although some more restricted steps to control the birds’ numbers have been allowed by the Ministry of Natural Resources over the years.

We hunted passenger pigeons until they were all gone.

Yet here we are again with an outrageous proposal from the Ford government that, as wildlife advocates for Zoocheck put it, would “let every small game license holder kill up to 1,500 cormorants per month (more than 14,000 per year) and allow their bodies to rot.”

As Zoocheck puts it; “That’s not management, that’s eradication.”

Too many cormorants? Not enough fish? Leave it to Ford to grab for the simple-minded solution – to wanna go blasting away at the birds like they were a flock of passenger pigeons or a herd of buffalo.

A closer look at reasons for any imbalance in their populations may lead to answers and solutions Ford and his base don’t want to hear.

Please join Zoocheck’s efforts to prevent this senseless slaughter by finding out below what you and your friends can do before it is too lake –

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

Originally 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/ .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

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

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One response to “Stop Ford’s Plan To Wage A War of Extermination on Ontario’s Double-Crested Cormorants

  1. Contacted every address.

    Like

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