Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

May 27, 2009 15:18 ET

Here we go again!

Ministry continues to ignore issue of bear overpopulation

Attention: Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ON, O.F.A.H. MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - May 27, 2009) - This week, another black bear made its way into the City of Peterborough, marking the start of another season of black bear/human conflict, not only in the area, but across the province.

On May 26, a black bear, estimated to be between one and two years old, was spotted in East City Bowl, a park located close to homes, retail shops and an elementary school. This time, Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) staff were able to tranquilize and relocate the animal, but the continual rise in bear/human occurrences is a concern to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.).

"This is yet another example of black bears coming into contact with humans, a potentially dangerous occurrence for both Peterborough residents and the bear itself," said Terry Quinney, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services. "Fortunately, the bear was contained within the park, otherwise it could have come in contact with children on their way to school. This is happening all over the province. When is the government going to acknowledge that Ontario has too many bears for the habitat available and stop claiming that there isn't a problem?"

Human/bear conflicts have been on the rise since 1999, when the provincial government suddenly, and without public consultation, bowed to political pressure and banned the spring bear hunt. The government's unsubstantiated claim that bear cubs were being orphaned has been widely disputed by wildlife biologists and managers, including the O.F.A.H. With ever-increasing numbers of bears being relocated and dispatched over the past decade, the science clearly demonstrates that more cubs are being orphaned or shot today in the protection of property, than ever were during the highly regulated spring hunt.

To date, the M.N.R.'s response to the dangerous escalation in bear/human conflict has been limited to the Bear Wise program, which is currently under government review. The program's own statistics reveal there is an upward trend in bear occurrences resulting in phone or onsite response, up from 8,547 in 2004/5 to an estimated 12,645 in 2007/8. The trend would be downward or stable if bear populations were being well managed.

"The benefits of bringing back an early season hunt are ecological, social and economic. An early season hunt would assist in reducing human/bear conflicts through better population management, provide more outdoor opportunities for hunters, and help generate economic prosperity for northern communities that have suffered terribly since the cancellation of the spring hunt," added Quinney.

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit, charitable, fishing, hunting and conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org

/For further information: Terry Quinney PhD
Provincial Manager of
Fish & Wildlife Services
(705) 748-6324 ext. 242

Contact Information

  • Lezlie Goodwin, Communications Coordinator, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    Primary Phone: 705-748-6324 ext. 270
    E-mail: lezlie_goodwin@ofah.org