More Ontario MisInformation – TERROR NEVER ENDS – Lots of wildlife means healthy habitat – Chatham Daily News – Ontario, CA

Ministry of Natural Resources Pud Hunter must realize that a good portion of song birds, insects and wild animals feed directly off of the farmers fields.  The same farmers that use 2,4-D.  The same farmers that use Genetically Modified Crops that are Roundup Ready, meaning that Roundup is sprayed on them.

Are the creatures Pud is referring to around homes and gardens healthier than the ones that feed on the farmers fields?

One reason they have a Controlled Deer Hunt every year is to control the Deer Population, they devastate farmers fields.

Deer meat can't get any more organic, or would you consider that tainted pesticide meat?  Talk about free range.

One thing is for sure, Pud is offering his opinion on this matter and relating it to the benefits of the Ontario Pesticide Ban.

His opinion is worthless.  Lets get some real evidence to support Pud's talk.

Fear mongering at its finest.

By the way, Dalton McGuinty has a biology degree.  Another expert.

 


ERICA BAJER

The Daily News

Ginny Bedard is enjoying an increase in the amount and variety of wildlife visiting her south Chatham backyard this year.

Like many around the municipality, Bedard has noticed more animals showing up around her Lacroix Street home.

"It's just been a super year, it's been so nice," she said. "We just like wildlife."

She said a pair of mallard ducks visit her backyard almost every other day to feast on wild bird feed she puts out.

"I've gone so far as to buy a kiddie pool," she said, adding she hopes to lure them into staying for longer visits.

She said the number of visiting songbirds has also increased this year and there's some new varieties.

"We've tried to get them but this is the first year Mr. Baltimore Oriole and his mate have showed up," she said.

As well, Bedard said a cottontail rabbit is making frequent stops in her yard.

Pud Hunter, a biologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources' Aylmer district, said much of the native wildlife in this area is abundant right now.

"We've seen an improvement in our ecosystem management and that has benefited wildlife and humans," he said.

He said the province's pesticide ban — which prohibits the use of herbicides and insecticides — has made food sources more plentiful and healthy for animals and birds.

"The food that rabbits like is grass and dandelions," Hunter said. "A lot of the songbirds you see in urban settings use insects as a staple food."

He said as people learn more about the environment, there's more emphasis on native landscaping, greenbelts and protected lands such as forests and marshes, making more habitat for native species.

"The more diverse and the more abundant these animals are, it tells us our ecosystem is healthy," he said. "Everybody has an interest in wildlife."

Eric Doran, 51, has been hunting since he was 14. In recent years, he said the population of many species seems to have increased.

And, the animals aren't just living in rural areas.

"There's a lot more animals in town than people think," he said.

Doran, who like many hunters is into conservation, said animals including racoons and skunks become "urbanized."

He said racoons in urban areas actually teach their young to dodge traffic and open garbage pails.

"People don't realize how these animals adapt," he said.

As humans continue to encroach on wildlife habitat, that adaptation will continue, he said.

He noted that it's not unusual for people living on the outskirts of a town to see critters traditionally only found in the wild, such as foxes.

Deer have ventured into Chatham on at least two recent occasions, including one incident in which two deer busted through a window at a Paxton Drive home in May. They panicked and hurt themselves in the home before going into the backyard. Police said they were destroyed due to their injuries.

Earlier this month, police were called about a deer running around the parking lot of Meritor on Park Avenue in Chatham. The deer wasn't located.

Hunter said not only are deer and cottontail rabbits in abundance this year but racoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes and some songbirds are also doing really well.

Both Hunter and Doran mentioned the improvement in the amount of wild turkeys around southwestern Ontario to illustrate how government policies can impact wildlife.

The birds were extirpated — which means there was no longer a population — in this area and re-introduced in 1983.

Today, flocks of the large birds can be found throughout the municipality.

Hunter said one animal that is not around here but sightings are sometimes reported are cougars.

"We don't have a population of self-sustaining cougars in the Aylmer district," he said.

In his 30 years as a biologist, he's investigated five cougar incidents and each involved a single animal and was traced back to captive origins.

Hunter said it's imperative for animals and humans to co-exist and the best thing people can do when they encounter wildlife is keep your distance.

"The first rule of the wildlife law is leave them alone," he said, adding that means people shouldn't approach or handle healthy or sick animals.

ebajer@chathamdailynews.ca

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