Date published: Sunday, April 27, 2014
The Ontario provincial government’s spring bear pilot project is the right choice for Northern Ontario. Managing the bear population to ensure there is minimal interaction with residential areas is a safety concern for both human and wildlife populations.
FONOM member communities have seen a high number of incidents where bears have been attracted to developed areas, and its members know firsthand the serious danger that exists with encounters between humans and wildlife. Maintaining a healthy distance between the populations is important, and a limited spring bear hunt is an efficient system of management.
“Other projects have been tried in the past, but the expense didn’t justify the level of success attained,” said Al Spacek, President of FONOM and Mayor of Kapuskasing. “This pilot project shows the government has been considering this issue in detail, and is committed to the best overall solution for all involved.”
While the pilot project is currently facing a legal challenge from animal rights groups, Spacek is confident that an unbiased review of the matter should see the project proceed without delay. “It is understandably difficult for people far removed from the daily life in Northern Ontario to appreciate it, but calling this a nuisance bear problem minimizes the potential danger. A bear in a residential area isn’t a pest, it’s a serious concern.”
Allowing bear populations to become established in close proximity to populated areas can alter wildlife habits and instincts, making this an issue for the animals as well. It is in their best interests to ensure they do not become accustomed to living in close proximity to humans and with ready access to human food.
FONOM will be following the results of the two-year pilot project, and hopes it proves to be successful in maintaining a barrier between wildlife and the many long-established communities of Northern Ontario.
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Al Spacek, President of FONOM, Mayor of Kapuskasing