FEBRUARY 9, 2012
Snapping turtles: threatened and hunted
Snapping turtles are hunted in Ontario, yet they are being pushed to the brink of extinction, say three groups calling for a hunting ban.
"The province has the power to give snappers a fighting chance today by ending the hunt," says Sue Carstairs of Kawartha Turtle Trauma Center. "In 20 years, it is too late to say we should have fixed it."
The snapping turtle is listed under Ontario's Endangered Species Act as a species of special concern, meaning it is vulnerable to extinction.
The snapper is the only turtle that can be hunted in the province.
Northern Ontario has a year-round open season for anyone (aboriginal people exempted) with a fishing or small-game license. The daily bag limit is two, and possession limit five. Hunting in parks and commercial harvesting are illegal.
Temagami has only two turtles: the snapper and the painted.
Ontario Nature, David Suzuki Foundation and Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre also point to road kill, habitat loss and toxins as threats to the reptile, but in Temagami hunting is the biggest.
Snappers have been around for 40 million years. Despite the fear they often invoke, they do not attack swimmers and do not have the jaw strength to bite through bone or take off a finger.
Snapping, which is only practiced on land, is their only defence. The shell is too small to retract into.
Of all the eggs a female lays in its first 60 years, on average only one will survive to adulthood. A deer gets an offspring to adulthood in only four.
This is a fragile species.
BACKGROUND: Snapping turtle: Road to Extinction report
FEBRUARY 9, 2012
Sudbury Star front page: Wolf Lake
Today's front-page headline in the Sudbury Star: Area needs permanent protection, referring to Wolf Lake.
The story covers the call by the new Wolf Lake Coalition for preservation, reported on Ottertooth three days ago.
But it clearly mirrors growing concern in Sudbury, obvious in media coverage, for the future of a forest that is the last remnant of the city's pre-settlement heritage.
EXTERNAL LINK: Sudbury Star story
FEBRUARY 8, 2012
Winter photos: open water and coyote or wolf
A continuation of a series of aerial winter shots by Ron Miller, showing open water at the outlet of Lake Temagami and a coyote or, maybe, a wolf.
PHOTO SERIES: Open water and a coyote?
FEBRUARY 6, 2012
Coalition forms to save Wolf Lake
Today 17 groups launched the Wolf Lake Coalition to oppose Ontario's plan to end protection of the ancient forest so mining can proceed.
“What we have at Wolf Lake cannot be replicated elsewhere,” said Bob Olajos of Friends of Temagami, a coalition member.
At 1,600 ha, the Wolf Lake ancient red-pine forest is the largest remaining example of this ecosystem by far -- more than triple the size of the next largest remnant.
"Mining at Wolf Lake would be like burning the Sistine Chapel," said David Sone of Earthroots, "to extract a few ounces of gold from its ornaments.”
After the holiday break, the City of Greater Sudbury's Green Space Advisory Panel voted for a third time on the preservation of Wolf Lake. Now the coalition has formed.
Opposition to Ontario's plan is spreading.
EXTERNAL LINK: Wolf Lake Coalition
Wolf lake Coalition members:
Ancient Forest Exploration and Research
FEBRUARY 5, 2012
Winter photos: moose yard and a kill
A continuation of a series of aerial winter shots by Ron Miller showing a moose yard and a kill by wolves.
PHOTO SERIES: Moose yard
FEBRUARY 2, 2012
Sudbury council group calls for Wolf Lake's protection — again
An advisory group to Sudbury's mayor and council last week called for the protection of Wolf Lake's old growth — for the third time.
There is an "air of urgency," the Green Space Advisory Panel wrote in a letter to council, to protect "one of Sudbury’s most precious natural assets."
The ancient pine is the last remnant of a pre-logging, pre-mining Sudbury before it was "reduced to a moonscape."
"Most Sudburians...have never seen an old red pine. "
The panel is charged with finding areas to protect within the city and Wolf Lake was one of the first on its list.
The panel is composed of city ward representatives and scientific advisors. The decision had no dissenters.
Although in a wilderness far from urban Sudbury, the area fell within city boundaries in 2001 when the city amalgamated with surrounding communities. It added the townships surrounding Lake Wanapitei to protect the headwaters of its drinking water.
Wolf Lake contains the world's largest remaining stand of endangered old-growth red pine. There are trees 300 years old.
Ontario plans to remove its temporary protection and cancel a plan for permanent protection. Opposition to the province has been growing and there is little to no public support for its backtracking.
BACKGROUND AND MAP: Wolf Lake Old Growth
RELATED STORIES: Toronto Star: Ontario breaks Temagami pledge
EXTERNAL VIDEO LINK: Protect Wolf Lake
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