Double-crested Cormorants are surely one of the most persecuted species in all of North America.
Hated and maligned for no good reason, they are scapegoated and blamed for environmental problems actually caused by humans. Hunting organizations, ever eager to find more living targets to kill, spread biased and negative ideas about double-crested cormorants, native birds who have evolved to live within their natural habitats. Even wildlife managers who should know better appear to have bought into the myth that there are ‘good’ animals and ‘bad’ ones. They see it as their job to reduce the numbers of animals they deem to be ‘undesirable.’ Of course, there are no such beings as native wild animals who do not fit into their natural habitats.
In 2022 Parks Canada staffers again shot Double-crested Cormorant parents off of their nests while the birds were fulfilling their evolutionary drive to incubate their eggs.
And, once again, Animal Alliance of Canada was there to monitor the killing and collect important data.
Animal Alliance of Canada took on the considerable expense of hiring a boat with local captain to monitor Parks Canada as they conducted yet another killing spree.
We need your support to cover the costs of this important action.
The natural world is well able to keep itself in balance.
Human intervention is not needed, and is too often influenced by political interference to accommodate wildlife-killing businesses. Professional wildlife managers seemingly justify their careers by promoting the misguided idea that they alone keep the natural world from careening out of control, that the balance between flora and fauna needs constant tweaking by them as if the natural world does not have its own checks and balances that have evolved over millennia. No recent government, provincial or federal, has been willing to protect Double-crested Cormorants.
That job falls to people like us – AAC and you – our supporters and allies.
The killing took place on Middle Island in Lake Erie, as it has done for several years. Parks Canada shooters again entered this small, uninhabited island that is an ideal nesting site for Double-crested Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, and Black-crowned Night Herons. Some Great Egrets have also used the island for nesting. And recently, we’ve seen an influx of American White Pelicans who appear to be expanding their nesting sites within Lake Erie.
For more than a decade Animal Alliance of Canada has hired a local boat captain to take AAC staffers to anchor off Middle Island to witness the shooting of the birds. We have done this faithfully, year after year, because we justifiably fear that birds may be left in the water, wounded yet still alive, to die slowly from exposure and starvation. This did take place some years ago when Ontario conservation officers operated a poorly-conducted cull in Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Ministry staff left injured birds behind to die painfully.
At Middle Island, an American advocacy organization called SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) found a cormorant floating in the water, still alive but badly injured from a gunshot wound to the face one day after a Parks Canada shoot.
Our goal has always been to get this misguided killing stopped. While we work on that, we collect data and do all we can to mitigate the suffering of these birds. This action is very expensive. It involves hiring a boat and skilled captain with local knowledge to bring us safely to anchor off the island to observe. Our staff must first stay overnight at a local hotel to be able to leave the dock early enough to arrive at the same time as Parks Canada shooters. Each observation time costs approximately $2,000. We expected a schedule of 4 days of shooting for 2022. Fortunately, the cull was called off after two days of killing, still a considerable expense for our organization. We will send out our most experienced Director, Barry MacKay, who has extensive bird knowledge, to once more observe the islands in the area now that the shooting has stopped. We need that data, even though it’s costly to collect.
We are determined to not let down these persecuted birds. We strongly believe that our presence influences the shooters to take more care and shoot more deliberately to ensure the birds have as quick a death as possible. When an injured bird falls into the water, a shooter in a boat working for Parks Canada finds the bird and shoots them, at least ending the bird’s suffering. In this disturbing scenario, a quick death is the best the individual birds can be provided.
Collection of independent data is also essential to our ongoing battle for these birds. We ourselves have witnessed what used to be a vibrant nursery for migratory birds, an island that was once teeming with life as various species travelled peacefully over the water to hunt and feed themselves, then returned to their nests to incubate their eggs. That island was once a glorious refuge where birds of various species flourished as they nested peacefully together. Sadly, we have seen the wild families greatly diminished, as far fewer birds now make use of the island.
We ourselves have witnessed Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons, and even some Great Egrets nesting closely with Double-crested Cormorants. Sadly, we have also witnessed birds now driven from the island because of the massive disturbance caused by the shooting. It’s clear to us that the disturbance created by Parks Canada shooters has made Middle Island a less attractive nesting site for not just cormorants but the other migratory species as well. Diminishing wild animal families, not protecting them, seems to be the true mandate of Parks Canada.
Please help us to keep up this important action for persecuted, native waterbirds.
Convincing governments to direct the agencies they oversee to stop harmful actions like cormorant-culling takes time. These are difficult battles to fight, but this is the work that Animal Alliance exists to do. These are the fights we will never abandon.
And – we need your help.
Please, generously DONATE today to ensure that Animal Alliance staffers can keep monitoring Parks Canada as they enter that island to kill those birds.
It’s likely that this killing will continue year after year unless we can get it stopped. And this is a bigger fight as well, to convince the ministries that fund agencies like Parks Canada to abandon their killing mindset and instead value the natural world as a connected and integrated whole.
Parks Canada is funded by Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, and uses our tax dollars to fund the killing.
Those birds, and us, rely on you – people who are sickened by the senseless killing of wild animals – to empower us to do our work.
If Parks Canada shooters are there to kill, Animal Alliance of Canada needs to be there to witness.
Again, this year, we were where we needed to be – at Middle Island monitoring the killing of persecuted birds. Please, donate to help us pay those bills.
To DONATE go to:
Or, Phone the AAC office at 416-462-9541 and use your credit card to make a contribution.
You can Mail a cheque or money order, payable to “Animal Alliance” or “Animal Alliance of Canada” to:
Animal Alliance of Canada
#101 – 221 Broadview Avenue
Toronto, ON M4M 2G3