Sierra Club of Canada Media Release

Saturday, June 23, 2001 - For Immediate Release
(Note: this release has been revised)


ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT FAILING TO PROTECT THE ENDANGERED EASTERN CANADIAN RED-WOLF


The Sierra Club Eastern Canada Chapter urgently requests that the provincial wildlife and natural resource ministries of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba immediately ban all hunting and trapping of the Eastern Canadian Wolf. Further, it seeks the implementation of strong federal endangered species legislation, which would protect this species.

The range of the Eastern Canadian Wolf is southern Quebec, Ontario, and eastern Manitoba. These are the last naturally occurring Red Wolf related species in North America.

The Red Wolf is so endangered that their populations are estimated to be anywhere from just 200 to a couple of thousand in all of Canada (Dr. John Theberge, 1998). In Canada, where there is no federal endangered species legislation, wolves are allowed to be hunted, trapped, and poisoned year round, with no bag limits. Further, saw tooth leg hold traps and strangling snares, outlawed in 17 states of the United States and western Europe, are still legal in Canada. In Algonquin Park, Ontario, the population is declining by 5% or more annually and headed for certain extinction if a total ban on hunting and trapping is not imposed around the 37 townships surrounding the park.

The Sierra Club, Earthroots, World Wildlife Fund, CPAWS, and (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) have all recommend immediate protection of the Eastern Canadian Red Wolf. COSEWIC (Committee on the Endangered Status of Wildlife in Canada) has recommended the species be listed as a species at risk. An Earthroots poll, conducted by Oracle Poll Research of Sudbury, indicates that 83% of the respondents want the wolves protected.

"With the Red Wolf population so depleted in North America, action to protect it must be immediate", said Sierra Club spokesperson, Ray Raymond.

"A total ban on hunting and trapping of this species is necessary. Our governments must to do the right thing and show the necessary leadership to make protection of this species happen. There won't be a second chance."

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For Further information, contact:
Ray Raymond
Sierra Club Eastern Canada Chapter
Phone: 819-876-7846, Fax: 775-414-3119
E-mail: ray.raymond@sympatico.ca



BACKGROUNDER

Once classified as sub-species of the grey wolf, the Eastern Canadian Wolf has recently been found through DNA testing to be a Red Wolf related species, Canus lycaon. This was the finding of a Canadian zoology study from last summer, authored by Dr. White and P. J. Wilson of the Wildlife Forensic DNA Lab, Department of Chemistry, Trent University, and Department of Biology, McMaster University.

The Algonquin Red Wolf, in Ontario, is the most studied representative of the Eastern Canadian Red Wolf. One third of its range is protected in Algonquin Park, Ontario, but the species' range extends into southern Quebec. World renowned wolf researcher, Dr. John Theberge, stated wolves born to Algonquin packs each year represent 21% of the population. It does not offset the 33% that die from human and natural causes. Their numbers have declined from over 300 in the nineties to approximately 160 wolves today. Theberge found that 66% of the mortality rate was human induced, specifically from hunting and trapping.

Though the public comment period on protection of the Red Wolf ended in Ontario in May 2001, Minister of Natural Resources, John Snoblen, still has not released a decision to protect the Red Wolf.

Wolves, large herbivores, beaver, etc., have lived together successfully for thousands of years. The highly misled and antiquated laws legalizing indiscriminate wolf killing were directed against populations of thousands when many Canadian farms were bordered around wilderness areas. That is far from the reality today, and scientific research indicates that there is no justifiable reason for human control of wolf populations (Thurber J. M. and R. O. Peterson, 1993). The current laws will lead to the certain demise of the Eastern Canadian Red Wolf. New legislation protecting preventing all hunting and trapping of the species must be implemented if the species is to be saved.


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