Editorial Killing bears on our streets

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Killing bears on our streets


How many black bears are being killed this fall on the streets of Northern Ontario communities by police dealing with bears that enter residential areas?

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As near as the Progress can determine, four – all juveniles – were killed in our small town alone during the past month. Based on that, would it be ridiculous to suggest that 200 or 300 black bears will be killed on Northern Ontario streets this year?

We asked the Ministry of Natural Resources, the provincial agency responsible for managing Ontario’s fish and wildlife. No one there knows – the MNR does not track these sorts of bear killings.

It ought to. The province was warned by its own environmental commissioner over a year ago that…

“By default, the Ontario Provincial Police and local police departments often have become responsible for confronting bears that wander into urban/suburban areas; where problem bears may have been relocated in the past, they are often shot today.”

~ Serving the Public, Annual Report, 2012/2013, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

 Of course, actually counting the number of bears that are being killed because the province wanted to save a few dollars on bear management might prove to be more than a little embarrassing.

Say instead of these 200 bears being killed on our Northern Ontario streets, they were killed in the bush by a ring of rogue poachers. What then?

Well, of course, the full force and might of the law would be exerted to end the slaughter. In fact, Ontarians would cheer the heroes whose work led to the arrest and jailing of this ring of poachers.

But the continuing slaughter of bears on our streets is resolutely ignored by the powers that be in Ontario.

That’s just plain wrong.

How can the MNR claim that fining bear hunters who break the rules is necessary to protect our natural resources when it turns a blind eye to the needless, wholesale killing of bears on our streets?

This bear slaughter brings into question the MNR’s very credibility as the manager of Ontario’s natural resources.

It must end.

 To report a natural resource violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

~ Standard phrasing used in MNR press releases regarding natural resources violations

Michael McKinnon

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