The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has announced a hunting and trapping ban on wolves and coyotes across 40 townships, effective immediately.
Said to be a step towards protecting Ontario wolves, specifically the recently re-named Algonquin wolf, hunters and trappers will be banned from hunting or trapping wolves and coyotes in three additional districts:
The area of Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, which includes the geographic townships of: Anstruther, Burleigh, Cardiff, Cavendish, Chandos, Harvey, and Monmouth;
The area of Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park, which includes the geographic townships of: Anson, Dalton, Digby, Longford, Lutterworth, Minden, and Ryde;
The area of Killarney Provincial Park, which includes the geographic townships of: Allen, Attlee, Bevin, Burwash, Caen, Carlyle, Cox, Curtin, Dieppe, Eden, Foster, Goschen, Halifax, Hansen, Humboldt, Killarney, Kilpatrick, Laura, Roosevelt, Sale, Secord, Servos, Struthers, Tilton, Truman, and Waldie.
Click here for a map of the expanded wolf and coyote hunting and trapping ban.
A spokesperson for the provincial government stated that because wolves and coyotes are difficult to distinguish from each other, the restriction on hunting and trapping must apply to both species. The ruling was made following a 31-day comment period held over this summer. Over 4,000 comments were received, most of them against the restrictions as laid out by the provincial government — many because of the increased threat to livestock and other prey of the wolf and coyote. (You can read some of the comments by clicking here.)
Farmers and ranchers, especially those with sheep and cattle, have expressed disapproval of coyotes being included in the ban, and would prefer education and training of hunters and trappers to distinguish between the species. Predation of livestock by wolves does occur, however, coyote kills are exponentially higher.
For the year ending March, 2016, farmers and ranchers claimed nearly $1.7 million in death and injuries due to predators. Of those deaths, the majority of sheep kills were attributed to coyote deaths. For the Kawartha region alone, coyote attacks were responsible for 53 cattle deaths.
Farmers and landowners within the designated areas may still “kill, harm, or harass an Algonquin (Eastern) Wolf or coyote in incidents of risks to health and safety, including the protection of domestic and livestock animals,” according to the province.