Last Updated: October 2016
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
The shooting of the Newmarket black bear on Monday, June 1st, has outraged the public of Ontario, and rightly so. The citizen’s of Ontario are now petitioning the government to formally review the policies and actions of the police and Ministry of Natural Resources in regards to wildlife conflict response. The policies and procedures in place are obviously not adequate regarding safe and ethical practices when dealing with the preservation and protection of wildlife.
The MNR have strict laws and guidelines for wildlife control, however the shooting of the Newmarket bear shows a failure in the system that needs to be addressed. On the MNR website you are advised to contact “Bear Wise” or the police if you have a bear problem. The Newmarket bear was roaming the streets for two days before the police responded and by the time MNR officials were ready to respond, the bear had been shot dead by police.
With the austerity cuts in 2012 the public education programs under Bear Wise were cancelled and staff was cut from 48 officers to 21 which may have resulted in the delay. Unfortunately the 2015 budget outlines, another 5.5 per cent cut to all government programs except essentials such as health care and education. That means the MNR is about to be stretched even thinner. Nonetheless, proper protocol and training should be enforced. All wildlife removal needs to be humane by law. Private Wildlife Control companies like SOS Wildlife Control use humane wildlife control techniques for Raccoon Removal, Squirrel Removal, Skunk removal, Bat Removal, Bird Removal.
A new petition has been started by the outraged public for the government to correct the policies and procedures in place. You can read more about it and sign up here.
For further information on how people and bears can co-exist check out Bear With Us. Bear With Us Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre for Bears was formed by Mike McIntosh, who has been making his rounds educating people and assisting with conflict resolution. It may be an idea that the MNR collaborate with the sanctuary to avoid a future system failure.
To read more on on this topic, read our blog Toronto’s Human-Wildlife Conflict.