Bracebridge, ON – The Ontario government is taking action to help protect wildlife populations and ensure continued hunting opportunities in Parry Sound-Muskoka.
The government has passed legislation and developed a plan to allow the Province to act quickly if wildlife diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) – a progressive, fatal brain disorder that mostly affects deer and elk – is discovered in Ontario.
If CWD were detected in Ontario, the legislative changes will allow the government to:
- Create response zones where special rules would apply, such as requiring hunters to submit animals for disease testing.
- Enable people to undertake activities that would otherwise be prohibited, such as authorizing a licensed hunter to dispatch symptomatic wildlife within a specified area.
- Implement long-term measures, such as restricting the exportation of certain live animals from a jurisdiction where CWD has been detected.
“We recognize the significant value wild deer have as an important part of Ontario’s biodiversity, and as a symbol of heritage to many Ontarians,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “These measures will support Ontario’s hunters and an industry that creates jobs and makes an important economic contribution to our province.”
CWD affects members of the cervid family – deer, elk, moose and caribou. While it has not been detected in Ontario, CWD was discovered in 2018 on a deer farm in Quebec, close to the Ontario border. It has also been found in all five states bordering Ontario.
“Rapid response is critical in eradicating CWD when it is first detected,” said Norman Miller MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka. “While CWD has not been detected in wildlife in Ontario, our new plan will ensure the province has the right approaches in place to minimize the risk of the disease entering or spreading within Ontario.”
Ontario’s new CWD Prevention and Response Plan will ensure the province has the right approaches in place to minimize the risk of the disease entering or spreading within Ontario.
- In 2017, recreational deer hunting generated $275 million for Ontario’s economy.
- The government conducts an annual CWD surveillance program, which helps detect the disease and minimize the risk of it entering the province.
- Since 2002, the government has tested more than 13,000 wild deer and elk for CWD; all test results have been negative.