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From 12 June 2005 Issue

Stop Cormorant Killings

Please take action on the despicable "culling" taking place in Presqu'ile Provincial Park in Ontario. Last year the Ministry of Natural Resources killed 6030 double crested cormorants. This year their target is 5500 because of pressure by hunting and fishing organizations. Below is a press release in regards to the killing of cormorants still feeding nestlings which Natural Resources promised they wouldn't do.

Barry Kent MacKay of the Animal Protection Institute is asking people and organizations to "sign on" to protest this kill. You will find the name and address of the Minister of Natural Resources below the press release and the letter below that. Please copy and paste the letter and form below then sign on and fax or mail to Minister David Ramsay.

For Immediate Release

Ministry of Natural Resources continues to kill even when cormorant parents are feeding their chicks.
Ministry fails to comply with EBR commitment - "The shooting of birds with hatched young will be avoided.
"Ridiculous cat and mouse games with observers continues in the fight to save the Presqu'ile cormorants.

Toronto, Friday, June 3, 2005: The Ministry continues to shoot cormorants in the colony where parents are observed feeding young. When the Ministry amended its cormorant management strategy in 2004 to include killing as an additional management tool, it committed not to shoot birds with chicks.

The report states, "The shooting of birds with hatched young will be avoided through modification in the timing of various management techniques."

"The Ministry's quest to kill cormorants reached a new low" said Julie Woodyer, Campaigns Director for Zoocheck Canada, one of the organizations observing the cull. "Ministry gunmen attempted to beat us to the punch by arriving earlier to kill as many cormorants as possible before we arrived on the scene."

"The whole procedure is just ridiculous" continued Woodyer. "Ministry staff should know by now that we can match them - for every hour they are on the island, we will be on the water monitoring them. We now have someone at the Island for 15 hours a day. We are determined to be here until they stop shooting the birds. We intend to continue to document parent birds feeding chicks and dead birds in and near nests with feeding parents."

"Video tapes of the colony taken by observers show that the cormorants have chicks" said Barry MacKay, Canadian Representative, Animal Protection Institute. "In one sequence it appears that one parent cormorant is feeding chicks with the other parent dead in the nest."

"Birders who have observed the colony on High Bluff Island previous years estimate that over 60% of the nests would have hatched young by now," continued MacKay. "David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources promised not to shoot adult cormorants with young. Yet this morning Ministry shooters roared over to the Island to see how many birds they could kill before our observers arrived. You really have to question the mentality of the Ministry staff who think it is OK to play cat and mouse games in an effort to blow away more birds. Cormorants are dedicated parents and try to tend their young even as they are being slaughtered by Ministry gunmen."

"The real joke is the Ministry's line that it is culling cormorants to protect the other species on the Island" said Woodyer. "Ministry staff talk about how sensitive the Black-crowned Night-Herons are to disturbance and yet they would be shooting throughout some days if we were there. They continue driving all-terrain vehicles throughout the island, picking up and composting the dead birds who fall to the ground in addition they are circling the island with motor boats to pick up dead and injured birds who are in the water from the days carnage.

Just the day before Ministry staff brought wood and re-bars to the Island and proceeded to build deer exclosures."

"We call upon David Ramsay, the Minister of Natural Resources to call off the cull to protect the adult cormorants with hatched young as his staff promised to do" said Rob Laidlaw, Director, Zoocheck Canada. "The Ministry made an absolute commitment to the public - [that] shooting birds with hatched young will be avoided -in their amended cormorant strategy document posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights web site."

Note: Please circulate to anyone you know. In the States you can alter it to "area code" instead of "postal code". Fax or snail-mail it in. Ask me (mimus@sympatico.ca, or phone 905 472 9731) if you have any questions. Please copy me. We are looking for both individuals and groups to sign-on. Thanks - BKM] (Barry Kent MacKay)

Honourable David Ramsay,
Minister of Natural Resources,
Whitney Block,
99 Wellesley St. W.,
Toronto, ON M7A 1W3
416-314-2301(p) 416-314-2102(f)

Dear Mr. Ramsay,

Please bring an immediate end to the cormorant cull to prevent the orphaning of babies who will die of exposure and starvation. I am writing to ask you to stop the slaughter of 5,500 cormorants on High Bluff Island in Presqu'ile Provincial Park, which started on May 24, 2005.

Observers of the cull have film footage of cormorant parents feeding their young chicks. The video also shows dead cormorants, killed by your staff, hanging from the nests as their partners try to care for the eggs and the young.

You promised not to kill parent birds. You commitment to members of the public reads, "The shooting of birds with hatched young will be avoided."

Parent cormorants take turns feeding their young, shading them from the sun, bringing water in their pouches to cool them off, protecting them from predators and keeping them warm. Cormorant chicks require both parents to survive. The Ministry gunmen are taking cruel advantage of this highly developed cormorant behaviour knowing that even under fire cormorants will return to their chicks. It is unconscionable that the Ministry would continue to shoot the adult birds knowing that young will be left to starve to death.

Therefore I am asking you to take the following actions:
1. Intervene immediately and stop the cull to prevent orphaned cormorant babies; and

2. Instruct your staff to stop "demonizing" cormorants in order to build a case for their mass slaughter;

Thank you for your consideration in this matter. I urge you to act quickly to stop the killing.

Sincerely,
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