By MPP Toby Barrett
To The Haldimand Press
Mention wildlife conservation and it means many different things to various people. To me, it is the guidance that has allowed wildlife populations in Canada and the United States to recover from lows at the end of the 19th century and recover to sustainable levels.
Stepping back in time to the 1800s, fish and wildlife harvest was mostly unregulated in Ontario. Market hunting, a practice where waterfowl and other game was harvested to sell to restaurants and retailers, was taking a toll on duck and goose numbers. In the west, bison numbers were plummeting in both Canada and the US. Hunters and anglers began calling for conservation measures.
What evolved became known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and its seven principles, but the underlying premises are wildlife are for the non-commercial use of citizens and species should be managed to ensure their populations remain at sustainable levels. This differed from many European countries, where the property owner owned the wildlife.