by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate
Born Free USA's Canadian Representative
Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry's your man. (And we're happy to have him as part of our team, too!)
Stealing Belugas Is Not Conservation
Ever hear of a leaf-scaled sea-snake, an Araripe manakin, a Rio Pescado stubfoot toad, or an Amsterdam Island albatross? They are among 100 species of wild animals and plants recently designated as the world’s 100 most endangered species on a list compiled by 8,000 scientists at the World Conservation Congress.
The Travesty of Zoo Accreditation in Canada
The mayor of the incorrigibly kitschy community of Niagara Falls, Ontario, thinks Marineland, a combination aquarium, zoo and amusement park, takes good care of its animals.
Why Ontario Is a Poacher's Haven
At 415,000 square miles, Ontario is smaller than Quebec (at 595,000 square miles) and Alaska (at 586,000 square miles) in size, and yet has nearly twice the number of people as the other two combined. It's still not crowded, at least not once you leave the population centers huddled along the northern edge of the Great Lakes that form Ontario's southern border.
Our Coyotes Are Bigger Than Your Coyotes, Unfortunately
When Born Free USA sent me to Halifax, Nova Scotia, last month, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I’ve been to the province many times before, but now I was scheduled to join local environmentalists in a meeting with the provincial minister of natural resources, Charlie Parker, and some of his staff. The issue was the government’s controversial “pelt incentive program,” which pays trappers $20 for every coyote pelt they turn in. One official (unfortunately absent from our meeting) is quoted in the media as saying, “Trappers must check their traps every day, and their presence in the woods, and the traps they set, send a regular message to the coyote population that humans should be avoided.”
Crosbie, Seals and Cod
Coincidentally, my recent visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, came a few days after the 20th anniversary of perhaps the most notorious day in the economic history of Atlantic Canada. It was July 2, 1992, when one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s best-known politicians, John Crosbie, announced a “moratorium” on the northwest Atlantic cod fishery.
Cormorant Phobia Hits Parks Canada
As our boat drifted about at the end of its anchor rope there were times when, had I a stone to throw, it would have landed in a foreign country, the United States of America. It was early May and we were in anchored in the southern end of Lake Erie, our stern facing a tiny, uninhabited bit of land called Middle Island, the southernmost land in Canada. The invisible international border was a hard line on the screen of our GPS, our small boat a blip pressed against the line.
The Supremes Rule and an Elephant Loses, Yet Again
Oh, the irony. I stood at the base of a statue dedicated a 19th century elephant, near where he died, prematurely, as elephants do here in Canada. It was April 28, the day after I had, in a cottage where I was staying in Kingsville, Ontario, learned about the Supreme Court decision about Lucy. Lucy is an ailing elephant trapped in a Canadian zoo. The inspiration for this huge statue, in St. Thomas, Ontario, surrounded by kids wanting their picture taken — then they’d rush off to the next tourist spot — was once the world’s most famous captive elephant.
Saving a Predatory Life
When I first saw Eve, in mid-March, I thought I should probably kill her. It would be easier than having to do it later on, after I had come to know her. Twenty minutes earlier a gentleman had called to say he had just picked up a “peregrine falcon” lying on its back on the 9th Line, the rather heavily travelled north-south road just a short distance from my home. Since I walk or drive the 9th Line almost daily, I knew there were red-tailed hawks in the neighborhood. He had heard of my work with birds and asked if I would take the bird. I told him to bring it over.