McGuinty government protects Algonquin wolves

Archived Release

McGuinty government protects Algonquin wolves

TORONTO, March 3 - The McGuinty government is acting decisively to protect the wolves of Algonquin Provincial Park, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced today. "It's vital to the people of Ontario that their wildlife is protected," said Ramsay. "Today we are taking real, positive action to help ensure Ontarians will hear the howls of the wolves of Algonquin in the future." The province is proposing a permanent ban on hunting and trapping wolves and coyotes in the park and in townships surrounding the park. The proposal would also ban chasing wolves or coyotes with dogs, both in the park and in townships surrounding the park. It will be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry for 30 days. The minister was joined for today's announcement in Toronto by Monte Hummel of the World Wildlife Fund, Gregor Beck of Ontario Nature and Jean Langlois of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). "Having been involved in this issue for 20 years now, especially by supporting research on Algonquin wolves, the World Wildlife Fund feels Minister Ramsay has definitely made the right decision here," said Mr. Hummel. "After all, what would Algonquin Park be without the call of the loon and the howl of the wolf?" "We are thrilled by this announcement," said Langlois. "It demonstrates a sound appreciation of the essential role of wolves in the Algonquin ecosystem." The ministry is also proposing that the Eastern Wolf be added to the new list of Species at Risk in Ontario as a species of Special Concern, which is consistent with its national designation. The new Species at Risk in Ontario list will be posted on the EBR for 30 days. Today's announcement reconfirms the government's commitment to conserving wolves across Ontario. As part of that commitment, the Ministry of Natural Resources will be developing a provincial wolf management strategy. To ensure the sustainability of the wolves in and around Algonquin Park, the wolf research and monitoring program will also continue. Algonquin Provincial Park is the largest protected area for the Eastern Wolf in North America. In 2001, the Ministry of Natural Resources established a short-term moratorium on regulated hunting and trapping of wolves in townships surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park. That moratorium was set to expire on June 30 of this year. Editor's Note: 1. To view the proposal about added protection for the wolves of Algonquin Park, visit www.ene.gov.on.ca/samples/search/Ebrquery_REG.htm, and enter Registry number RB04E6007. 2. To view the proposal to replace the Vulnerable, Threatened, Endangered, Extirpated or Extinct Species of Ontario list with the new Species at Risk in Ontario list, please visit www.ene.gov.on.ca/samples/search/Ebrquery_REG.htm, and enter Registry number PB04E6008. Fact Sheet ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ADDED PROTECTION FOR WOLVES OF ALGONQUIN PARK AND SPECIES AT RISK IN ONTARIO WOLVES OF ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK - The wolves of Algonquin Provincial Park are part of a large population of Eastern Wolves that occur through central and parts of northern Ontario - The Eastern Wolf has lost 58 per cent of its historical range in Canada, and is now extinct in the Atlantic Provinces and the eastern United States. Ontario is estimated to have the largest population of these wolves, and Algonquin Provincial Park is the largest protected area for the Eastern Wolf in North America. - These wolves are typically a gray-brown and reddish colour and noticeably smaller than wolves living further north. - Wolves are an important part of the ecosystem of this unique natural environment park. The wolf is also one of the park's most enduring images. - The park's summertime wolf howls are the centerpiece of a world- renowned interpretive program. In addition to the significant contribution this program has made to changing public attitudes towards wolves, it also contributes to the local economy. - The proposed hunting and trapping ban on wolves and coyotes would apply to the Townships of Clyde, Bruton and Eyre within Algonquin Park. It would also apply to whole and part townships surrounding the park: Chisholm, Boulter, Calvin, Lauder, Papineau, Boyd, Cameron, Clara, Maria, Head, Rolph, Wylie, Petawawa, McKay, Alice, Fraser, Hagarty, Richards, Burns, Dickens, Clancy (tiny portion), Murchison, Airy, Sabine, McClure, Herschel, Harcourt, Dudley, Harburn, Eyre (portion located outside Algonquin Provincial Park), Havelock, Livingstone, McClintock, Franklin, Finlayson, Sinclair, McCraney, Butt, Paxton and Ballantyne. SPECIES AT RISK - The Eastern Wolf has been listed as a species of Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada since 2001. A Special Concern species is any native species that, on the basis of the best available scientific evidence, is sensitive to human activities or natural events. - The province is now proposing to replace the existing but out-of-date list of Vulnerable, Threatened, Endangered, Extirpated or Extinct Species of Ontario with a new Species at Risk in Ontario list in which the Eastern Wolf is listed as a species of Special Concern. - The new Ontario list would change the terms used to describe provincial "at risk" categories to correspond to terms used at the national level. Disponible en fran├žais www.mnr.gov.on.caFor further information: Ginette Albert, Minister's Office, (416) 314-2212; Steve Payne, Ministry of Natural Resources, (416) 314-2103