Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Cormorants to be killed as soon as tomorrow

The cormorants of Middle Island are to be shot as soon as tomorrow by Parks Canada. I would like to thank to everyone who spoke out on behalf of the cormorants. I will let you know what the next steps are as soon as we regroup. Below are the comments of Barry Kent-McKay, a board member and birder. His sentiments are shared by us all.

Dear Everyone,

I don't have the details, but apparently the judge ruled against us, and the cormorants, this morning. I haven't seen his ruling yet, but from the second-hand account I have it seems that he agreed on our legal argument, but still bought into the "ecosystem in peril" argument that Parks Canada presented. This is most frustrating to me, personally, since we are not allowed to present the "scientific argument", which at any rate is difficult for a lay person (which, outside matters of law, the judge is), to understand -- that we are not arguing that the cormorants won't alter the vegetation, even remove whole species, but that it does not matter as that is natural to the primal condition that Parks Canada is mandated to seek for the island. In other words I believe whatever the merits of our legal arguments that Parks Canada did not follow legally mandated processes, our "scientific" arguments are categorically valid. If Parks Canada's legal arguments fail (and like I say, I haven't read the comments, that's what I know via hearsay) and if we are not allowed to present scientific argument (or if we do it is automatically discredited) we don't have a chance.

Julie, Rob and Liz are either on Pelee Island, or will be there shortly. They, and other volunteers (badly needed, as is funding) will do what they can to document the killing. I can't believe that use of a .117 calibre rifle (that's the size of an air-rifle) that Parks Canada plans to use can do anything other than create an even higher wounding rate than the tragedy documented at Presqu'ile Provincial Park two years ago, using a slightly higher calibre (.222), with something like 30% wounding rates.

I honestly believe that some day people will have a more enlightened understanding of ecology, and the fact that natural ecosystems are not parks designed to conform to esthetic taste (not that I find a cormorant colony unattractive, but clearly others do). But it is a continuing, uphill battle. We have come a long way, but we have much further to go.


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