Target: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne
Goal: Cancel proposed reinstatement of black bear cull
A spring black bear hunt is set to resume this year after the Ontario government lifted a spring hunting ban implemented fifteen years ago. Government officials claim that reinstating the hunt will reduce bear encounters, while several studies have shown no correlation between culls and reduced bear sightings.
A ban on spring bear hunts was implemented in 1999 when evidence suggested that nearly 20% of the bears killed annually were females that had given birth to cubs the previous mating season. Without their mothers, orphaned cubs were left vulnerable to predators and eventual starvation.
The spring bear hunt takes advantage of bears’ post-hibernation hunger by luring them in with baited traps. Bears, particularly nursing mothers, are often coaxed further into human-inhabited territory than they normally would be by the seemingly easy-to-obtain nourishment.
Studies by scientists at Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources have suggested that there is no significant correlation between bear culls and a decline in bear sightings. Due to the black bear’s territorial nature, other bears will move into the newly-vacant areas close to cities, rendering a cull ineffective. Though the government claims that its “Bear-Wise” education program is not reducing encounters at a substantial rate, there is no evidence to suggest that the spring bear hunt will fare any better.
Reinstating the spring bear hunt has the potential to leave hundreds of cubs without their mothers, with little to no effect on bear encounters. As most black bears are timid and easily scared off by humans, increasing “Bear-Wise” education will not only have a similar effect on bear sightings, but is much more compassionate. Your signature will demand that the province of Ontario cancel reinstatement of the spring bear hunt.
Dear Premier Kathleen Wynne,
The government of Ontario recently approved a reinstatement of a spring bear hunt that has been banned since 1999. The hunt was originally cancelled due to the high percentage of adult female bears being killed, and the subsequent number of orphaned bear cubs.
While the government claims that current anti-bear education is not making a significant impact on bear sightings, scientific evidence suggests that spring bear hunts have done little to reduce encounters in the past. I ask that the bear hunt be cancelled in favor of a renewed effort to educate citizens about deterring bears – an equally effective yet more compassionate alternative.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: DaBler via Creative Commons