‘It’s bizarre’: Almost two dozen seals found decapitated along Nova Scotia beaches

https://nationalpost.com/news/its-bizarre-almost-two-dozen-seals-found-decapitated-along-nova-scotia-beaches

‘I was in disbelief … I’ve never seen anything like it’Author of the article:Samantha PopePublishing date:Apr 16, 2021  •  1 day ago  •  4 minute read  •   71 Comments

Kimberly Hayman said she hopes an investigation will get to the bottom of what happened to the headless seals she found along the shores of two local beaches.
Kimberly Hayman said she hopes an investigation will get to the bottom of what happened to the headless seals she found along the shores of two local beaches. PHOTO BY KIMBERLY HAYMAN

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A Cape Breton resident has made a disturbing discovery: Almost two dozen decapitated seals dotting the shores of two beaches.

“I was in disbelief … I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Kimberly Hayman, who’s lived in Dominion, Nova Scotia for three years. “I don’t like to see any animals suffer. I was just really disturbed.”

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While on a midday stroll along Big Glace Bay’s shoreline on Sunday, Hayman said she and some friends were startled to find 10 headless seals — all with holes in their torsos — sprawled along the pebbly beach. There was no odour and the bodies still looked pretty fresh, she said, with dogs curiously running over to investigate.

Though she said she felt upset by the sight, she didn’t think much else of it. Then the next day, while out on her usual sunrise walk along nearby Dominion Beach, Hayman said she counted 11 more of these decapitated animals and began to wonder what was going on.  

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“I just kept taking pictures because I was thinking, ‘This can’t be normal — that’s 21 in total,’” she said.  

Twenty-one decapitated seals were found along the shores of two Cape Breton beaches, all with a “hole in their torso,” Hayman said.
Twenty-one decapitated seals were found along the shores of two Cape Breton beaches, all with a “hole in their torso,” Hayman said. PHOTO BY KIMBERLY HAYMAN

Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed it is aware of the headless seals, though it said Nova Scotia’s Marine Animal Response Society (MARS) is taking the lead on the situation. It’s a familiar incident to the group, as several hundred dead seals were also found washed up near Cape Breton and Sambro shores in April last year. 

In that case, the society’s response co-ordinator told CBC News it didn’t appear like the seals were killed as part of the seal hunt, as their skulls were intact and had not been crushed. This time around, Hayman said she saw no skulls nearby.

Similar issues have also persisted on the west coast of Canada, with headless sea lions found along British Columbia shores instead of seals. Last June, marine mammal zoologist Dr. Anna Hall said she believed decapitated sea lions along eastern Vancouver Island shores were deliberately beheaded by humans, with one incident being filmed on camera.

As for what’s happening on Nova Scotia beaches, Hall said she believes a similar crime may be happening. There appears to be consistencies among the carcasses, she said, reminding her of what she saw last summer on Vancouver Island.

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“The carcasses have a distinct similarity to them,” she said. “While we can’t say definitely that the seals on the east coast have been decapitated by human efforts, it does seem that is a distinct possibility looking at the photographs.”

However, MARS’s executive director and marine mammal biologist Tonya Wimmer said it appears to be a natural occurrence that happens every year to varying degrees, especially when sea ice has not been particularly thick or prevalent.

Though she hasn’t received images of all the seals yet, Wimmer said the holes don’t appear to be man-made, despite people assuming they have been caused by gunshots or other human-related trauma.

“From the images and information we’ve received, many of the holes are where the umbilicus would have been and is likely scavenging by other animals,” she said, explaining how it’s quite common for scavengers to target the area around the belly button, genitals or eyes.

Though there have been different theories about what happened, including that seal heads are being crushed by moving ice, Wimmer said she can’t say for certainty that’s what’s happening this time around.

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“The cause remains unknown,” she said. “(But) for the majority of animals we’ve examined during the incidents we’ve documented, it doesn’t appear to be due to human interactions.”

Hall said she doubts sea ice is to blame.

“I would be very surprised that this many seals would be decapitated by sea ice,” she said. “I’ve never heard of that before. That being said, I’m in Pacific Canada where we don’t have that issue.”

Either way, Hall said it’s disturbing to see that many decapitated seals in one localized region — which she said is cause for suspicion. While she said it could also be a result of shark predation, she said she still believes there might be something more to it.

“The sheer number of animals discovered within such a short time frame — 21 animals in three days — suggests that there is a possibility that those numbers could actually be higher,” she said. “It seems more likely that there is a human element to this, and I would really hope that DFO will take the appropriate steps to determine definitively what the cause of death of these animals were.”

For Hayman, she said coming across these seals was quite an unsettling experience, especially not knowing for sure what happened to them. She added she would hate to see it happen each year.

“I just feel like if this isn’t happening naturally, then what the heck is happening?” Hayman said. “To me, it’s bizarre.”

Raccoon caught in trap in West Vancouver prompts renewed calls for change

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Trapping legislation outdated, according to The Fur-BearersMar 18, 2021 3:43 PM By: Ben Bengtson

egg trap pic (Wendy Roberts)A raccoon was discovered with a trap around its front paw in West Vancouver on March 15.Wendy RobertsWildlife advocates are once again asking for B.C.’s trapping rules to be overhauled after a raccoon was caught in a trap earlier this week and was forced to crawl in pain for an unknown amount of time, eventually landing on a deck in West Vancouver.

Wendy Roberts, who lives with her family in West Van’s Bayridge neighbourhood, says she and her husband overheard an unusual rattling sound on their back deck at around 10 p.m. Monday. “It did sound odd,” she said.

They found the raccoon with its front paw ensnared in a cylindrical holding trap. The raccoon had apparently got caught in the trap and dragged itself onto their property, according to Roberts.

“There was a chain attached to the trap where you would secure it to the ground,” she noted.

Roberts called the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, which dispatched an officer from Squamish to West Vancouver at 10:30 p.m.

By the time the officer arrived, the raccoon had climbed onto a small treehouse in the family’s yard, and the chain had become stuck in the wooden structure, holding the animal in place.

The conservation officer was able to release the critter from the trap and determine that its injuries were non-life threatening before releasing it back into the wild. Roberts commended the COS for their late-night effort.

While it’s illegal to set a trap in B.C. within 200 metres of a dwelling, it is legal to trap and relocate a raccoon without a licence if it’s causing damage to a person’s private property, according to the COS.

In this instance, someone in the neighbourhood had likely set the holding trap because they were dealing with a nuisance raccoon, or raccoons, that were causing damage to their property, said COS spokesman Simon Gravel.

“The investigation did not allow us to know where this trap was coming from,” said Gravel.

While there are exceptions when it comes to trapping on private property, Gravel said it was important for people to education themselves about their options if they’re dealing with a raccoon problem.

“The technique of trapping chosen is very important,” said Gravel, who noted the style of holding trap that the raccoon in West Vancouver got caught in was likely one designed to hold an animal in place with the intent to destroy it – not a live trap method used to relocate and release the animal back into the wild. “That leads me to think that this is not the right tool in an urban setting.”

Gravel recommended always calling a professional when dealing with problem raccoons and visiting the WildSafeBC website for details on non-invasive and non-lethal removal methods.

Lesley Fox, executive director of The Fur-Bearers, a non-profit society dedicated to stopping trapping cruelty, praised the efforts of Roberts and the COS but said the incident reflected a larger issue concerning B.C.’s trapping regulations.

“We’re dealing with legislation that’s really old, and in the current legislation I think most British Columbians would be surprised to learn the majority of traps are still legal – leg-hold traps are still very much legal in the province of B.C. Trapping is not up North in the middle of nowhere. Traps can be set anywhere,” said Fox. “Traps continue to be a problem for all British Columbians and our wildlife trapping regulations need to be overhauled.”

Anyone with information related to cases of illegal trapping is asked to contact the COS Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).

Goose cull cost questioned

goose cull will cost up to $40,000

David Wylie – Feb 8, 2021 / 7:00 pm | Story: 324484File photo

Vernon is moving ahead with its plan to kill at least 100 Canada Geese at a cost of up to $40,000.

https://www.castanet.net/news/Vernon/324484/Why-Vernon-s-goose-cull-will-cos

Coun. Scott Anderson says he’s been asked why the program costs so much.

“We know why it costs so much, but I don’t think the public does,” he said at Monday’s council meeting.

A memo included in the council agenda package does break down the spending somewhat:

  • $7,000 covers planning and permits
  • $27,000 covers catching the birds
  • $4,000 covers killing and disposing of the birds

The cull will take about three to four weeks to complete. About 10 people in kayaks will cover beaches including Paddlewheel, Lakeshore and Kin to roundup the birds.

Once killed, the federal government doesn’t allow for the donation of the meat, which means the bird carcasses will either end up in an animal compost or the landfill.

Anderson says they were allowed to offer the meat to the Okanagan Indian Band, but the OKIB turned it down. One group has requested the goose cull meat be donated to hunters as bait, and city staff have been asked to investigate that use.

City staff believe Vernon is the first city in the Okanagan to actually kill Canada Geese, rather than addling eggs or scaring them away. Municipalities on Vancouver Island have used lethal force.

The geese are considered a nuisance because of their prolific amounts of poop and their potential to destroy habitat.

Two petitions have been launched to stop the Vernon cull.

Mayor Victor Cumming was opposed.

The idealistic life and violent death of Hamilton animal rights champion Regan Russell

By Jon WellsSpectator Reporter

Sun., Aug. 2, 2020timer12 min. read

On her last evening alive, on the cusp of summer, Regan Russell sat in her backyard under a towering maple worthy of the Garden of Eden.

This was off Locke Street South, around the corner from St. John the Evangelist church, where as a girl she had asked the minister if animals had souls, and why they were sacrificed to God in the Bible.

Russell felt a weariness, and also foreboding, at what lay ahead.

She planned to attend her latest animal rights protest the next morning, June 19, outside Fearmans Pork on Harvester Road in Burlington.

Activists call the weekly demonstrations “vigils,” at which they “bear witness” to pigs hauled in trucks for slaughter, talk to the animals through gaps in the ventilated trailers, and squirt water into their mouths, as drivers pause before entering the facility.

She felt despair about a law passed two days earlier in the Ontario legislature — Bill 156 — that she knew would make it harder, even dangerous, to fulfil her calling to advocate for the pigs’ living conditions and work toward stopping the killing of animals altogether.

In her backyard, Russell, who had recently turned 65, sipped a glass of wine and talked with her spouse Mark Powell.

She had been active in animal rights for 40 years.

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She cared for rabbits, raccoons and wounded squirrels; she protested at Marineland in Niagara and a sled dog breeding operation in Quebec.

She pushed the envelope in her activism and was arrested nearly a dozen times.

“Maybe it’s time for you to pass the torch to the younger generation,” Powell told her. “We can still support them any way we can.”

He was worried for her safety more than usual.

But he also knew there was no stopping her. All he could do was say his piece.

The next afternoon, a woman stood at his door.

“There’s been an accident,” she said, tears in her eyes.

“Slaughterhouse,” Powell said.

“Yes.”

“It’s not good, is it?”

“No.”

One of the trucks carrying pigs had hit and killed Russell.

Her body had been taken to hospital for an autopsy.

The ripple effect of her death was about to be felt far beyond Hamilton.

The 28-year-old driver of the truck has been charged with careless driving causing death by Halton Regional Police under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, and police say “there were no grounds to indicate this was an intentional act.” But questions remain about exactly what happened that morning.

The answer to the deeper question of why Regan Russell took her final breath standing athwart a truck loaded with farm animals, moments from their inevitable end, is both simple and complicated.


The notion that farm animals like pigs are sentient — that they feel pain, at least as acutely as a dog, cat or an infant child — is the philosophical bedrock on which activists stand.

And it’s not mere faith, suggests University of Guelph behavioural biologist Georgia Mason.

“Pigs are considered sentient by the European Union and the National Academy of Science, and every animal welfare research group in the world,” she says.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture recently issued a statement questioning animal sentience, adding: “We simply don’t know if animals are capable of reasoning and cognitive thought.”

But cognition — the ability to understand and acquire knowledge — is distinct from the ability to feel, and it’s a red herring to raise it, Mason says.

“Most recognize that animals are sentient, and it’s not the same as saying they have cognition like humans. It just means they have feelings.”

She says the issue of sentience is more controversial when considering animals such as reptiles, fish, and mammals in a developmental stage — including humans.

“There are questions about at what point a fetus becomes sentient.”

The belief that animals deserve rights in line with humans was popularized 45 years ago in the book “Animal Liberation” by Australian philosopher Peter Singer.

He argued that if one accepts that unequal treatment between humans due to differences in race, gender or intelligence is immoral, then so too is poor treatment of animals, who are physically different from people, but “morally equal.”

It would be “speciesism” to think otherwise, he wrote, and: “We have to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Regan Russell read the book in her early 20s. Its message found a hungry mind and open heart.

And then, in 1977, she read about the seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, that had attracted international attention including a visit from French film star Brigitte Bardot, who condemned “Canadian assassins” clubbing the animals.

Russell had always loved animals but now the spark was lit.

She was living in Winnipeg at the time and made a sign and stood on a street corner.

“I thought, I’ll make a sign and protest and it will all stop,” she said to a journalist in a documentary. “I thought, when everyone knows, how could it possibly continue?”

Russell was idealistic, driven, and just getting started.

She grew up in west Hamilton in the 1960s. Bill and Pat Russell named their first of two children after one of the daughters in Shakespeare’s “King Lear” — a rare name for a girl then.

Bill, a music teacher at Regan’s elementary school, took a political science degree at McMaster University on the side, during the ascendance of feminism and civil rights.

There was always lots of conversation around the dinner table.

Regan read on subjects from Socrates to Gandhi and Roman history, but did not attend college or university after graduating from Westdale high school.

She married at 19, and when her husband’s job took him out west, she followed, and worked modelling for Eaton’s. (She refused to model fur, and was ultimately arrested at a fur protest in a department store in Toronto, along with her father.)

The “Animal Liberation” book is a gateway for many activists; a “moral shock” according to Emily Gaarder, an anthropologist at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, who wrote a book about the predominance of women in the animal rights movement.

But, she adds, there are other influences, as well.

Russell married twice before meeting Mark Powell in 2001. They knew each other as kids; she was six years older and had taught him Sunday school at church.

She chose to never have children. Powell says she talked of her fear that she would never develop a strong enough connection with a child.

Instead, he says, she directed her nurturing instinct toward animals.

One of Powell’s two sons from his first marriage called Russell, his stepmother, “Snow White,” after watching her talking to animals.

Ideology is another influence on activists. Gaarder says women emboldened to vigorously advance their cause are “political thinkers making political choices.”


That was true for Anita Krajnc, who joined Russell at many animal rights protests.

Krajnc earned several university degrees including a doctorate in political science.

Into her 20s, Krajnc says she was still a meat eater who “salivated at pig roasts.” She converted to veganism after reading “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” but an incident in her early 40s flipped a switch to her calling.

She lived near a slaughterhouse in Toronto and one day, walking her dog, she came across pigs on a truck. Later that year, she helped found Toronto Pig Save.

“I never took action until I saw the pigs,” she says. “I couldn’t believe how scared and sad they were. It looked like they were in a dungeon. A pig looked at me, and I promised him three vigils a week. And we kept that promise.”

In 2015, Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief for giving water to pigs. She was found not guilty, with Regan Russell offering moral support in the courtroom.

The pair campaigned against Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act. Activists believe it is a draconian “ag-gag” measure that will prevent them from exposing inhumane animal treatment.

While the vigils at Fearmans are held just outside the property, at other times, including last summer, Russell and fellow activists entered the grounds to give water to pigs, as workers yelled at them to leave.

In other incidents in Ontario, members of the group “Direct Action Everywhere” have broken into animal breeding barns to retrieve ducks and pigs.

Supporters of the bill say that when activists give water to pigs or trespass on private property, it creates dangerous situations for workers and farmers and is potentially harmful to the food supply.

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Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, told The Spectator the bill will not prohibit demonstrations, “but it will be illegal to interact with livestock. It’s dangerous when they put things in the trucks, whether it is water or something else.”

He says the bill won’t prevent whistle-blowing, and if anyone at a farm or meat processing plant “sees something inappropriate, we want it reported. I have no tolerance for animal cruelty.”

Activists believe that not only are pigs and other animals mistreated prior to killing, but that eating meat is wrong.

Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, says the food system needs to “undergo a massive shift away from eating animals and toward eating plants, to spare billions of animals from unimaginable suffering, to tackle the climate crisis, and because eating animals is a serious risk to public health.”

In an email to The Spectator, she added: “Most people are shocked to learn animal welfare on farms is almost completely unregulated in Canada, and the government doesn’t inspect or monitor the conditions the animals like pigs are kept in … The industry gets to police itself; the figurative fox is guarding the literal henhouse.”

“That is an inaccurate statement,” counters Cameron Newbigging, a spokesperson with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforces regulations for the humane transport and slaughter of animals, and “provincial inspectors go onto farms where irregularities are suspected or complaints are received.”

What constitutes humane treatment is spelled out in Ontario’s Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act passed in 2019, and the federal Health of Animals Act.

One example is regulations for herding animals. Activists lament the use of electric prods to force pigs off trucks; the regulations say prods are permitted on pigs at least three months old, so long as “it is not applied to a sensitive area including the belly and the anal, genital and facial regions of the animal.”

Another regulation is that pigs and other animals cannot be trucked when the shipping time is longer than 12 hours.

Sofina Foods, owner of Fearmans Pork since 2012, said in a statement to The Spectator that its pigs come from farms within a three-hour radius of the plant, “well below the travel time permitted and recommended by regulators.”

For Regan Russell and other activists, the point of opposing Bill 156 was to ensure they remain free to comfort farm animals, and keep a close eye on transport and killing techniques in the industry.

On her Facebook page on June 18, Russell called the bill “evil.”


The protest on June 19 was different than the routine vigils. In addition to bearing witness, it was intended to draw attention to the bill.

That morning, just after 10 a.m., one of the trucks hauling pigs stopped on Harvester Road before it reached the gates of Fearmans.

Activists waited on the sidewalk for their chance to give water to the pigs.

Enforcement under the new law had not yet come into effect; they could still interact with the animals as usual.

Activists say that in the past, drivers have mostly co-operated with the vigils, but occasionally have confronted protesters.

Krajnc, who was not present that day, says she was told by witnesses the truck idled further away from activists than usual, disrupting traffic, “and creating a sense of chaos.”

At the same time, she said, Russell stood apart from the others, in the driveway closer to the gates of the property, and at some point the truck started to move again.

A news release from Pig Save Toronto says Russell “tried to jump from the path of the truck before it plowed into her.” Halton police said in a news release that it was not an “intentional act.”

video documentary about Russell, posted on the Pig Save Facebook page, says she was hit and dragged by the truck and her body mangled underneath.

“One of our activists has been killed,” says a man filming the aftermath on his phone. “Jesus Christ. It finally f—ing happened.”

Within days, animal rights activists held tributes in Russell’s honour, from Argentina to the U.K. and Italy, and in Germany, where protesters hung a banner on a slaughterhouse in Berlin bearing Russell’s likeness.

In Los Angeles, actor Joaquin Phoenix held a sign at a rally that read “Save Pigs 4 Regan,” and said in a statement: “Regan Russell spent the final moments of her life providing comfort to pigs who had never experienced the touch of a kind hand.”

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) announced it had acquired two six-week old pigs from a farm in Iowa, and took the rare step of naming them after an activist: One is named Regan and the other, Russell. They will live in an animal sanctuary in upstate New York.

A march was held in Toronto, where activists called on the province to implement “Regan’s Law,” a bill of rights to protect farm animals.

Powell was among the speakers.

“It is a horrible, life-changing tragedy, for everyone she knew and touched,” he says.

One of her oldest friends, Katherine Wightman, who Russell met through modelling in Winnipeg, says Regan used to talk about being ready to die for her cause.

“She died a martyr,” says Wightman. “She could have worked until she was 100 and never accomplished what this tragic death has.”

Russell’s death has become one of those moral shocks: her face a symbol, her alliterative name a rally cry.


At a pig vigil held three weeks after the incident, flowers from a tribute to her remained hanging on a fence outside Fearmans, having wilted and dried in the heat.

About 18 activists were there, and for some it was their first time.

Nancy Robertson drove 40 minutes from Cambridge where she works as a nurse, wearing a shirt with Russell’s likeness on it.

“(Russell) opened my eyes to doing more for the animals, being in public, having a united front and speaking up for them … Seeing the animals in distress deeply affected me. I’ve never seen one up close before. We would never treat a dog or cat or human that way.”

Jessie Watkinson drove an hour to attend, also inspired by Russell. She cried after offering water to the pigs.

“They were too hot and exhausted to even drink. You connect with one, they look at you, and in that two minutes you show them the compassion. I just wish we could do more.”

At her final protest, Russell had taken her turn spraying water into the mouths of the pigs. And she held a sign that read: “The truth should never be illegal.”

After she was killed, pigs in the truck that hit her were herded onto another, while police officers investigated.

There had been so much commotion in the moment: blood, sirens, and screams from an activist recorded on a phone: “No! No!”

If what Regan Russell believed to her core is true, that pigs feel and have perception beyond our understanding, then it was not just the humans who felt it deeply that morning: that something gentle and beautiful had been lost, on the road to slaughter.

Jon Wells is a Hamilton-based reporter and feature writer for The Spectator. Reach him via email: jwells@thespec.com

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The idealistic life and violent death of Hamilton animal rights champion Regan Russell
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Global: Ontario announces annual double-crested cormorant fall hunting season

ByGreg Davis Global NewsPosted July 31, 2020 12:08 pm

The province of Ontario is introducing a fall harevest of the double-crested coromorant.
The province of Ontario is introducing a fall harevest of the double-crested coromorant. File

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The province of Ontario is introducing an annual fall harvest of the double-crested cormorant as a step to protect fish stocks and natural habitat.

In Fenelon Falls on Friday morning, John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, announced that the hunting season will run annually from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31, beginning this year.

Yakabuski says Ontario has a healthy and sustainable cormorant population. The fish-eating bird — which consumes up to a pound a fish a day —  is known for its droppings called guana which can kill trees and other vegetation in which they nest and roost. They are notorious for destroying traditional nesting habitats of other colonial waterbirds.

READ MORE: Ontario government proposes full return of annual spring black bear hunt

“We’ve heard concerns from property owners, hunters and anglers, and commercial fishers about the kind of damage cormorants have caused in their communities, so we’re taking steps to help them deal with any local issues,” Yakabuski said. “In large amounts, cormorant droppings can kill trees and other vegetation and destroy traditional nesting habitats for some other colonial waterbirds, so it’s critical that we take action to strike a healthy balance in local ecosystems.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Following public consultations, the province has made changes to its initial proposal so as not to interfere with waterway users and other migratory birds.

“We listened to those who provided comments about the cormorant hunting proposal, and as a result, we are introducing only a fall hunting season to avoid interfering with recreational users of waterways and nesting periods for some migratory birds,” Yakabuski said. “We have also reduced the maximum number of cormorants a hunter can take to 15 a day, which is a similar limit to one for federally regulated migratory game birds such as mourning doves, snow and Ross’s geese, rails, coot and gallinules.”

Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, says cormorants have been a growing problem on Sturgeon Lake and Balsam Lake in her riding. “They have covered islands with their guano, killing trees and vegetation,” Scott said.

“We’re listening to local residents who have voiced their concerns and asked for additional tools to address the issue.”TWEET THIS

Last year, the ministry and partner agencies surveyed cormorant colonies across the Great Lakes and select inland lakes in Ontario. Based on nest count surveys, the province says there are an estimated minimum of 143,000 breeding cormorants in 344 colonies across the province.

The province says combined with historical data, trends suggest that cormorant populations are increasing in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior and are stable on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Huron.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENThttps://8f291139c8c942b58d8e426919dedfa0.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“Growing up in North Bay and spending many summers fishing on Lake Nipissing, I have seen firsthand the issues that cormorants have caused in some local areas,” said Mike Harris, parliamentary assistant to Yakabuski.

READ MORE: ‘What they’re doing is potentially illegal’: Kingston MPP wants investigation into Bill 197

“A new fall hunting season will help communities manage cormorant populations where they have negatively impacted natural habitat and other waterbird species.”

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters applauds the bird harvesting announcement.

“We are pleased to see a provincial government finally take action to control overabundant cormorant populations to help protect Ontario’s ecosystems,” said executive director Angelo Lombardo. “We are encouraged to see that the MNRF has made adjustments to the original proposal in response to concerns expressed by the OFAH and others.”

The Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association echos the sentiment.

“We strongly support the government’s decision to introduce a fall hunting season, which will help to control damaging cormorant populations,” said Jane Graham, executive director. “Our position has not been to seek the extinction of cormorants from Ontario but for the management of cormorants to promote a balanced ecosystem, which is in the best interests for all Ontarians.”

The province says hunters will be responsible for appropriately identifying their target and ensuring they are harvesting only double-crested cormorants. Cormorants can be consumed but if not, the province says the harvested birds must be disposed of properly.

Canadians want to see a ban on wildlife markets and an end to the commercial wildlife trade



23 hours ago


To date, more than 425,000 people globally have signed petitions to G20
government leaders, urging them to curb the global wildlife trade. In
Canada, 29,000 concerned residents have signed our petition and according to
our latest polling data, Canadians want to see our government act on this
issue.


In July 2020, World Animal Protection commissioned Northstar Research
Partners to conduct an online survey among a nationally representative
sample of Canadian residents to understand the perspective we have on the
wildlife trade.

The results are clear: Canadians care greatly about wild animals and their
fate.

* 75% want the Federal government to support a permanent ban on wildlife
markets.

* 70% support a ban on the commercial trade in wild animals, with 1 out
of 5 Canadians being in support of better regulations and measures to
control the trade.

* A majority does not support the use of wildlife for trophy hunting,
fur, exotic pets, traditional medicine and entertainment.

* Nearly all Canadians agree that the wildlife trade is cruel and can
cause suffering (93%), threatens biodiversity (89%), and public health
(89%).

See the full poll from NorthStar here.
<https://www.worldanimalprotection.ca/Global-Wildlife_Ban-Study-Report-July
2020>

We can no longer afford to ignore the fact that the current pandemic and
previous major epidemics around the world are fundamentally linked to our
poor treatment and exploitation of wild animals and our encroachment on
their habitats. Millions of wild animals are captured, bred and traded every
year for a variety of purposes including food, traditional medicine and as
exotic pets. Animal suffering occurs and zoonotic infections can spread at
every stage of the trade.

The Federal government can take the following steps to answer the call of a
growing coalition of Canadian and international animal protection
organizations, academics, conservationists, zoonotic disease experts, and
concerned Canadians by:

* Urging other G20 countries to support the immediate and permanent
closure of wild animal markets.

* Committing at the G20 to end the international trade in wild animals
and wild animal products that could contribute to the spread of zoonotic
diseases.

Working with provinces and territories to mitigate risks to public health,
animal welfare and our natural environment inherent to the keeping, use and
trade of wild animals and to harmonize and strengthen regulations and
enforcement to drastically reduce captive breeding, transport and the
physical and online trade in wild animals.


Sign the petition to join our campaign


Join us and thousands of other Canadians in calling on the Canadian
government to support and champion a global ban on the wildlife trade. Sign
now:

Ban the wildlife trade

<https://www.worldanimalprotection.ca/news/canadians-want-see-ban-wildlife-m
arkets-and-end-commercial-wildlife-trade>


Read more
<https://www.worldanimalprotection.ca/news/canadians-want-see-ban-wildlife-m
arkets-and-end-commercial-wildlife-trade

Small, But Welcome, Good News From Canada

by Barry Kent MacKay in BlogCanadaCoexisting with Wildlife on July 27, 2020

https://www.bornfreeusa.org/2020/07/27/small-but-welcome-good-news-from-canada/

Matthews, Sue / Public domain.

Amid the worldwide tsunami of bad news and sadness one searches for a trickle of positivity; something to celebrate.

For some time there has been a group, operating under the banner of the Pacific Balance Marine Management (PBMM), that has been lobbying to convince the government, and to garner public support, to legalize a commercial hunt for seals and sea lions on Canada’s west coast. The argument is the usual one – too many sea lions eating too many salmon (of commercial value, of course) in a region in need of employment and revenue. In an effort to seem to be attune to rapidly growing public awareness of just how badly our species has damaged the ecosphere upon which the survival of us all depends, a nuance was added: the seals and sea lions were eating fish needed by endangered orcas, whose own survival was thus compromised.

Fishermen commonly scapegoat any species that eats fish, blaming them for declines in the fish they want, seeing each desired fish consumed by something else as one belonging to them as if by divine right. Governments are motivated to go along with the idea in the hope of absolving themselves from accountability for the real threats to commercial fisheries, such as oil pollution, plastic pollution, toxic waste, nutriment overloading from agriculture and other human waste products, climate change, damage to breeding grounds from politically advantageous commercial development, and, to a huge degree, overfishing.

It is not seals and sea lions that threaten salmon, but deforestation that degrades upstream breeding habitat of salmon, the dams put across rivers, and the relentless pursuit of profit; and lately, it seems, the dissemination of disease and parasites from coastal fish farms. The two species food chains envisioned by the would-be seal killers fail to take into account a complexity of multi-species interactions within a dynamic environment that is difficult for non-scientists to comprehend, and so, it is hoped, is ignored, along with the scientists.

Once we realized that the science did not support PBMM claims, we pointed out that the notorious east coast commercial hunt for harp seals demonstrated that there was nearly no market for seal products, notwithstanding decades of effort in research and development into commercially viable seal products and efforts to find markets, funded by Canadian tax dollars.

Last year, a video that showed fishermen lobbing explosive devices into a pack of west coast sea lions went viral. Charges were laid.

And then, the headless sea lions started to appear. Bodies, reportedly including at least one of the endangered Steller’s sea lion, began to wash ashore along Vancouver Island’s coastline. There is a market for the intact skulls of mature sea lions.

There are only seals, no sea lions, on the east coast (and the seal skulls are often bashed or shot to kill the animal at any rate) but for skulls of the northern fur seal, Steller’s sea lion, and California sea lion, and maybe even the smaller harbor seal, all found on the west coast, there is some demand.

The good news? Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which manages marine mammals, has confirmed that no permits will be issued to PBMM or anyone to allow commercial hunting of west coast pinnipeds – seals, fur seals, and sea lions. Of course, we must remain vigilant. But for now, our west coast pinnipeds remain protected in Canada!

Rare white grizzly bear captured on camera in B.C. park

ByAmy Judd Global NewsPosted July 21, 2020 7:51 pm Updated July 21, 2020 8:01 pmNews: Rare white grizzly bear spotted in B.C.’s Yoho National Parkclose videohttps://globalnews.ca/video/embed/7203132/#autoplay&stickyiframe=miniplayer_7203132_5f1c762cbfa5b&muteMore video has surfaced of a rare white grizzly bear that’s been spotted in B.C’s Yoho National Park.

A rare white grizzly bear has been sighted by the side of the road in a B.C. park.

Oly Talens was driving through Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rockies on their way to Takakkaw Falls when a flash of white through the trees forced them to pull over and pull out a video camera.

Turns out, the animal, named Nakoda by locals, has been seen before in Yoho and Banff national parks, but not very often.

READ MORE: Concerns raised as people crowd rare white grizzly in Banff and Yoho parks

Parks Canada has previously said the bear is not albino, but actually a natural colour phase variation that makes it white.

The animal, believed to be about three and a half years old, can be seen in the video with its brown sibling.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENThttps://cf4ca2a280f1728229d4553c11701b81.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“They said seeing a grizzly up close in the wild is lucky, but two at the same time — and the (second) one is a rare white bear — is like winning a lotto ticket,” Talens said.

Parks Canada had to put out a statement following other sightings of the unusual bear, reminding the public to consider not stopping if they see wildlife as they travel through the parks, or, if safe to stop, to always stay in their vehicles and give the animal space.

“Bears and other wildlife that become comfortable around people and roadsides are at greater risk of being struck by a vehicle,” the agency said.0:38Rare white ‘spirit’ bear spotted with cub in B.C.Rare white ‘spirit’ bear spotted with cub in B.C.

WATCH: Bear cub with head stuck in bucket rescued in northern Ontario


Jenny YuenMore from Jenny Yuen

Published:July 20, 2020

Updated:July 20, 2020 3:19 PM EDT

Filed Under:

RELATED

Advertisementhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/PzVouAPjIe0?rel=1&controls=1&autoplay=1&modestbranding=1&embed_config=%7B%22autonavRelatedVideos%22%3Atrue%2C%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22EFneExC3GZeiVztRuRRe0w%22%2C%22OXbUmGfpr_rb_UeqROTwkg%22%2C%22Vu_SlTS4SNNUAIkCmSDzMQ%22%2C%22qNPpzfFRh29-ULwkF0ys0w%22%2C%22RROHNHB3JN8JxKST9xl_og%22%2C%22iiiXY1ue6nb7iqY8o8f62w%22%2C%22N9gPUr8QTM6RkHdKThDmQQ%22%2C%22Z1-u3qX7AUUPzH9O_Peb-Q%22%2C%22kjNuLzfw5Ep7EJuMdeFylw%22%2C%22YuLCUHAoN1fs3pZi3WPRnA%22%2C%22Vyik4cnxEmbefInU7JnWyw%22%2C%22rbOGpnOudmETQ0WZkyvD8g%22%2C%22jmGwjC7pytqz8vvL5lIuxA%22%2C%22HmA32WCmlUp9ZUF_clAPHg%22%2C%22zFyTrFm5aM-342rJsjBbXw%22%2C%22UCakXkuN4Z3Jnwf5aOay9ytw%22%5D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&widgetid=1

Residents see a lot of bears in northern Ontario, but Trevor Buchmann said it’s not every day you see a black bear cub with a red bucket on its head.

Even rarer is when you see that cub climb a tree and get stuck there.

Buchmann, 46, lives in Kenogami — about 15 kilometres west of Kirkland Lake and not far from the county dump. He says people had seen black bear cubs with their mother there earlier this year, but on Sunday, he had a direct encounter with one of the cubs that found itself in a serious pickle.https://www.youtube.com/embed/4uXCBiSBvtQ?rel=1&controls=1&autoplay=0&modestbranding=1&embed_config=%7B%22autonavRelatedVideos%22%3Atrue%2C%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22EFneExC3GZeiVztRuRRe0w%22%2C%22OXbUmGfpr_rb_UeqROTwkg%22%2C%22Vu_SlTS4SNNUAIkCmSDzMQ%22%2C%22qNPpzfFRh29-ULwkF0ys0w%22%2C%22RROHNHB3JN8JxKST9xl_og%22%2C%22iiiXY1ue6nb7iqY8o8f62w%22%2C%22N9gPUr8QTM6RkHdKThDmQQ%22%2C%22Z1-u3qX7AUUPzH9O_Peb-Q%22%2C%22kjNuLzfw5Ep7EJuMdeFylw%22%2C%22YuLCUHAoN1fs3pZi3WPRnA%22%2C%22Vyik4cnxEmbefInU7JnWyw%22%2C%22rbOGpnOudmETQ0WZkyvD8g%22%2C%22jmGwjC7pytqz8vvL5lIuxA%22%2C%22HmA32WCmlUp9ZUF_clAPHg%22%2C%22zFyTrFm5aM-342rJsjBbXw%22%2C%22UCakXkuN4Z3Jnwf5aOay9ytw%22%5D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&widgetid=2

The bear had first been spotted July 15, about 5 km from his home with a pail on its head. Buchmann suspects the mother abandoned the cub after being unable to remove the pail.

“The cub likely picked it up at the dump,” he said Monday, “and worked his way through the bush. We think it may have been the container for protein powder.”

“We’d heard reports since then about this bear cub,” he said. “(Sunday), we were doing some work on our guest cottage and my daughter was sitting on the deck and she said, ‘What’s that on the tree?’ I thought it might be a fisher or marten or even a cat, and I looked over and saw the big red bucket on its head.https://www.youtube.com/embed/I9SEv5Nyzrc?rel=1&controls=1&autoplay=0&modestbranding=1&embed_config=%7B%22autonavRelatedVideos%22%3Atrue%2C%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22EFneExC3GZeiVztRuRRe0w%22%2C%22OXbUmGfpr_rb_UeqROTwkg%22%2C%22Vu_SlTS4SNNUAIkCmSDzMQ%22%2C%22qNPpzfFRh29-ULwkF0ys0w%22%2C%22RROHNHB3JN8JxKST9xl_og%22%2C%22iiiXY1ue6nb7iqY8o8f62w%22%2C%22N9gPUr8QTM6RkHdKThDmQQ%22%2C%22Z1-u3qX7AUUPzH9O_Peb-Q%22%2C%22kjNuLzfw5Ep7EJuMdeFylw%22%2C%22YuLCUHAoN1fs3pZi3WPRnA%22%2C%22Vyik4cnxEmbefInU7JnWyw%22%2C%22rbOGpnOudmETQ0WZkyvD8g%22%2C%22jmGwjC7pytqz8vvL5lIuxA%22%2C%22HmA32WCmlUp9ZUF_clAPHg%22%2C%22zFyTrFm5aM-342rJsjBbXw%22%2C%22UCakXkuN4Z3Jnwf5aOay9ytw%22%5D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&widgetid=3

“I ran to get into long-sleeve clothing and I tried to grab it and it went further up the tree. I went to the shop to get a pole I could use to loop around the bucket.”

A friend arrived after a call from Buchmann’s wife and he went up the tree trying to get the bear but the cub went up to the highest branch.”

Buchmann, his wife and daughter filmed the encounter and posted it to Facebook.

In the four-minute long video, Elder, wearing camouflage garb, is seen up the tree, holding a pole, which he eventually uses to gently knock the cub into Kenogami Lake. From there, Buchmann retrieves the animal from the water and the two men, using a blanket, remove the bucket from the bear’s head.

Buchmann said Elder’s aunt is a veterinarian who has conducted bear rescues in the past and gave the men step-by-step instructions over the phone.

The cub was safely put into a dog kennel and though it appeared shaken at first, eventually calms down when Buchmann feeds it some fruits.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry was called and the cub, which he’s nicknamed “Kenny,” was bound for the Bear With Us rescue centre outside Huntsville where it will stay over the fall and winter and be released next spring.

In another bear encounter video that surfaced over the weekend, three hikers remain very still while a black bear sniffs them out.https://www.instagram.com/p/CC1TUlmAdA3/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&wp=578&rd=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&rp=%2Fnews%2Fprovincial%2Fwatch-bear-cub-with-head-stuck-in-bucket-rescued-in-northern-ontario#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A22421.445000043605%7D

Reported to have been taken at Chipinque Ecological Park in Mexico, the video shows the black bear up on its hind legs while one of the women can be seen stretching out her arm to take a photo with the wild animal.

The clip has had millions of views since being shared on social media.

jyuen@postmedia.comCommentsShare your thoughts

Truck Driver Who Ran Over Animal Advocate Escapes Criminal Charges




July 20, 2020

1

A transport truck driver has avoided criminal prosecution in connection with
the death of animal advocate Regan Russell. Regan was violently run over and
killed last month by a truck taking pigs to slaughter outside Fearmans Pork
slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario.

The Halton Police
<https://www.haltonpolice.ca/about/media/view_release.php?releaseID=6575>
announced that they laid one provincial Highway Traffic Act charge against
the 28-year old truck driver-careless driving causing death. The police did
not release the name of the truck driver, or the video of the incident.

Provincial charges are considered far less serious than criminal charges.
The provincial offence of careless driving causing death carries with it a
penalty of $2,000 to $50,000 and up to two years in jail, and no criminal
record. A comparable criminal offence, such as dangerous driving causing
death, would be punishable by large fines and up to 14 years in prison, plus
a criminal record.

Regan Russell was a member of the Animal Save Movement, and was at the
slaughterhouse on the day she was killed to document the condition of pigs
trucked to slaughter in sweltering heat, and to help provide water to them.
She was also there in protest of Bill 156, dangerous so-called “ag gag”
legislation
<https://www.animaljustice.ca/media-releases/ontario-passes-ag-gag-law-to-co
ver-up-animal-abuse-on-farms> passed two days earlier by the provincial
government. Bill 156 aims to cover up animal cruelty in the farming
industry, and interferes with the Charter-protected rights of citizens and
journalists to protest and document animal abuse at farms, slaughterhouses,
and in transport. Animal Justice intends to
<https://www.animaljustice.ca/blog/animal-justice-to-continue-the-fight-agai
nst-bill-156-in-court> challenge the constitutionality of Bill 156 in court.

Although the police did not lay criminal charges against the trucker, they
rarely extend this leniency to animal advocates. Law enforcement authorities
regularly give preferential, slap-on-the-wrist treatment to industries
responsible for animal suffering, while pursuing serious criminal
prosecutions against people who expose and take action to stop animal
cruelty.

For instance, advocates have gathered extensive footage depicting illegal
pig suffering in transport trucks outside Fearmans Pork, including pigs
suffering from heat exhaustion and frostbite, and pigs arriving injured,
dead, or dying. Federal authorities generally refuse to prosecute Fearmans
or truckers for this suffering. Yet in 2015, the Halton Police charged
Animal Save Movement founder Anita Krajnc with criminal mischief for giving
water to thirsty pigs trapped inside a truck outside Fearmans Slaughterhouse
on a sweltering day. She was
<https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/judge-acquits-woman-in-pigs-w
ater-case/article34893404/> acquitted following a much-publicized trial.

Police also regularly lay trumped-up criminal charges against animal
advocates for acts that are not a criminal offence, such as going onto
private property to expose hidden animal suffering on meat and fur farms.
But law enforcement often goes easy on farmers responsible for abuse. Farms
and slaughterhouses caught on hidden camera viciously abusing animals have
never faced a single Criminal Code charge for animal cruelty in Ontario.
Authorities generally don’t bother to prosecute at all, even when there is
clear video evidence. On the rare occasions when charges are laid, they are
always less serious provincial charges.

Regan Russell’s family is also
<https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/regan-russell-1.5653593> calling
for a coroner’s inquest into her brutal death. A coroner’s inquest is
typically used to uncover broader, systemic issues responsible for a death.
In the case of Fearmans Pork, the slaughterhouse had for years refused to
negotiate a safety agreement with the Animal Save Movement to allow for safe
and peaceful protests, and truckers who created safety risks had never been
prosecuted.

Photo credit: Animal Save

https://www.animaljustice.ca/blog/truck-driver-who-ran-over-animal-advocate
escapes-criminal-charges

<https://www.animaljustice.ca/blog/truck-driver-who-ran-over-animal-advocate
-escapes-criminal-charges>

<https://www.animaljustice.ca/blog/truck-driver-who-ran-over-animal-advocate
-escapes-criminal-charges> Animal Justice – Truck Driver Who Ran Over Animal
Advocate Escapes Criminal Charges

A transport truck driver has avoided criminal prosecution in connection with
the death of animal advocate Regan Russell. Regan was violently run over and
killed last month by a truck taking pigs to slaughter outside Fearmans Pork
slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. The Halton Police announced that they
laid one provincial Highway Traffic Act charge against.

http://www.animaljustice.ca <http://www.animaljustice.ca>