CTV: Residents concerned over wildlife strategy as city looks review decade-old policy

"Residents need to understand that if you do see wildlife and you want that interaction to be successful, you need to do what you can to leave it alone. Sometimes we get caught up in getting a photo or, telling our neighbors and sometimes the best thing to do is to leave it alone so that it can return to the forest," said Johnson."

 

Full story and video

The City of Ottawa released the results(opens in a new tab) of its Wildlife Strategy Survey showing the majority of people are in favour of protecting wildlife and want the city to take a more proactive, instead of reactive, approach to human-wildlife conflicts.

"Residents appear to be more concerned about making sure that the wildlife is protected versus protecting property," said city councillor, Laine Johnson.

"Which I think is a shift from what we saw, perhaps in 2013 when the original policy was released."

The city concluded Wildlife Strategy Review surveys last year and released the results to the public this week. The city is in the process of updating its 2013 Wildlife Strategy(opens in a new tab), which has been delayed twice now.

"We are going to see it this spring which is great, but I think the delays have been somewhat inevitable as resources have been stretched," said Johnson.

The current wildlife strategy has been met with significant controversy over the years.

Last year, police shot and killed a black bear in Kanata. Several other animals including moose, beavers and elk have also been killed since 2010.

"There is a role for obviously city bylaw, for police, for the National Capital Commission. The National Capital Commission has really well trained conservation officers so we want to see more of a collaborative approach," said Donna Dubreuil, president of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre.

It’s an approach the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre would like to see in the updated strategy, but it says so far the city hasn’t responded to its position papers.

"I think implementing any kind of strategy is going to take partnership. It's not going to be done by simply the city sort of electing to do certain things or not do certain things on their own," said Dubreuil.

In addition to wanting to see large animals like bears protected, survey respondents also expressed concern over the city’s approach to beavers, trapping and killing approximately 150 a year.

"I think it’s outrageous to most people. We really need to protect our wetlands and beavers are probably the most influential species in maintaining our wetlands," said Dubreuil.

In 2013, it was also recommended the city hire a dedicated wildlife officer. But that hasn’t happened, stirring up frustration among residents who have wildlife concerns.

"If you are interested in seeing that happen, I think the pressure has to be on your own city councillors and make sure that they vote in the right way," said Johnson.

Johnson says education for residents is key when it comes to co-existing with wildlife.

“Residents need to understand that if you do see wildlife and you want that interaction to be successful, you need to do what you can to leave it alone. Sometimes we get caught up in getting a photo or, telling our neighbors and sometimes the best thing to do is to leave it alone so that it can return to the forest," said Johnson.

The survey found that residents are highly concerns over the risk of coyotes, despite statistics showing dogs pose a higher risk.

According to the city’s current wildlife strategy, there are approximately 350-400 injuries to residents by domestic dogs each year. But in the 46 years between 1960 and 2006, there were 142 documented coyote injuries, mostly in the western United States.

"We need to take some perspective on this and just understand. But people do need information. They need to know when to react and when not to react, or what's a threat and what's not," said Dubreuil.

The updated wildlife strategy is expected to come to council in June.

Latest posts

New active transportation facilities on the Hwy 417 bridges

New active transportation facilities on the Hwy 417 bridges

Over the next several years, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) will replace the bridges/overpasses at Richmond Road, Pinecrest Ave, Woodroffe Ave, and Maitland Ave.

I have been working with Councillor Theresa Kavanagh, Mayor Sutcliffe, and our provincial counterparts to ensure that those new structures include better, safer transportation routes for pedestrians and cyclists. And I am very pleased that MTO has come onside and will build active transportation infrastructure as part of their plan.

The City of Ottawa is investing $5.4 million (which was already earmarked for active transportation projects like this one) to improve the Maitland bridge. MTO will do the rest on their own. The City will also work on connections between the bridges and area cycling routes and sidewalks.

Beginning May 22 and until June 5, 2024, MTO has an online Public Information Centre for the Maitland and Woodroffe bridges.

You can also read the full Subject matter - Report to Committee (escribemeetings.com).

Ottawa Citizen: Bears in the backyard: Here's what advocates want to see in Ottawa's updated wildlife strategy

Ottawa Citizen: Bears in the backyard: Here's what advocates want to see in Ottawa's updated wildlife strategy

Full story by Joanne Laucius

People are still getting bounced from one level of government to another when they have a question or concern about wildlife, said Johnson. It happened to a member of her staff earlier this month when the staffer had concerns about a sickly-looking coyote repeatedly sighted in the City View neighbourhood.

“Many jurisdictions have a finger in the pie of our green space. They all have some, but not all of the responsibility,” she said. “It should be easy to make one call and ensure that the correct responding agency knows about the situation. We have a wealth of expertise.”

Share this page

Take action

Upcoming Events

Sign up for updates