cormorant hunting

Experts are trying to stop a huge bird hunt in Canada

People in Ontario are not happy that the provincial government has approved a mass hunt of the double-crested cormorant bird, and now experts are trying to put an end to it. 

In an open letter to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski on Tuesday, 51 wildlife ecologists, aquaculture experts, environmental sciences experts and others are opening up about why this hunt is problematic. 

"As ecologists, fisheries scientists and natural resource managers, we are concerned at the lack of scientific examination associated with the announcement," they wrote.

Back in July, the Ontario government announced a 106-day hunt of the aquatic bird to manage the population, which depletes fish stocks and whose droppings damage trees.

Hunters can take 15 birds per day, however, they are not required to report how many birds they've actually taken. 

"No rationale is provided as to why a provincial wide hunt is being adopted instead of targeted localized management approaches," the letter continues. 

"This hunt departs from two of the seven principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. First, that wildlife should only be killed for a legitimate, non-frivolous purpose. Second, that scientific management is the proper means for wildlife conservation."

In a statement to CBC, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said that many people are concerned about the effect the birds have on their communities. 

"Ontario currently has a healthy and sustainable cormorant population. The ministry will continue to monitor the double-crested cormorant population status and trends to support sustainability of cormorants in the province."

News of the hunt unsurprisingly garnered lots of backlash on social media. 

A petition has started in hopes of stopping the hunt. 

Hunters with an outdoors card and a small game license will be allowed to hunt the cormorant bird from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31. 

Lead photo by

Tucker Hammerstrom

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