Dear Zoocheck Supporter:
Thank you so much for your contribution to Zoocheck in 2020 or early 2021. We are very grateful that you find our ongoing wildlife protection work worthwhile and that you choose to support it.
I’m sure you know that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted some of Zoocheck’s campaign and project work, but 2020 was still a very busy year and we made headway on a number of issues. Here’s a short list of some of our work throughout the year:
• Conducted successful campaign to block the establishment of a “bear zoo” in Kearney, Ontario.
• Provided assistance to residents and public officials to shut down an illegal zoo that was set up in Grand Bend, Ontario.
• Successfully lobbied to make sure permission was not given for the keeping of lions in the Municipality of South Huron, Ontario.
• Continued to lobby the Government of Ontario to create tough wildlife in captivity regulations, including a ban on the keeping of dangerous animals as pets, under the new Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act.
• Continued lobbying efforts, in collaboration with World Animal Protection, to improve laws and regulations for exotic animals kept as pets in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
• Promoted Positive List (PL) regulation of exotic animals in multiple jurisdictions in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. PL regulation is a much better, more efficient method of controlling the keeping of exotic wild animals, safeguarding animal welfare and protecting human health and safety. The Town of Newmarket became the 4th municipality in Ontario to adopt PL regulation, joining dozens of other jurisdictions across Canada.
• Contributed to production of first ever scientific journal paper on Positive List regulation of exotic pets.
• Presented a month-long series of online exotic pet workshops for policy-makers, enforcement officials, public health workers and animal welfare professionals. The response from across Canada and abroad exceeded our expectations. The series was done in collaboration with World Animal Protection.
• Assisted development of The Jane Goodall Act by providing wildlife in captivity research assistance and fact checking. The Act is aimed at ending the captivity of elephants and great apes in Canada.
• Looked for new strategies for helping Lucy the elephant and continued ongoing professional review of her medical and other records (obtained through Access to Information laws).
• Internationally, Zoocheck continued to play a role in campaigns to help improve protections for captive wild animals in zoos and aquariums in other countries.
• Provided information to and participated in a number of documentary films about zoos and wildlife in captivity issues.
• Campaigned to prevent the initiation of an unscientific fall cormorant hunting season in Ontario that could effectively eradicate the birds from the province. Unfortunately, the hunting season was initiated and many of our fears about cormorants being wiped out in a number of localized areas were substantiated. In response, Zoocheck and Animal Alliance of Canada, started organizing efforts to push to stop the fall 2021 hunt. A documentary short film has been commissioned, numerous materials updated for distribution to the public and Cormorant Defenders International, a collective of wildlife protection groups, scientists and concerned citizens, was reorganized. A broad range of other activities, both political and public awareness oriented, are in the works and they will be rolled out throughout the coming months.
• Zoocheck’s wild horse campaign continued in 2020 with ongoing promotion of the documentary short film Wild Hearts about the wild horses of Alberta. The film has gained considerable traction and has won a significant number of independent film festival awards. Numerous other behind the scenes activities were also in play. The result was another year in which no wild horses were culled.
• Zoocheck also provided funding for publication of a new scientific journal paper about wolf predation of wild horses to correct misinformation spread by horse-cull proponents that nothing is keeping horse populations in check.
• Commissioned technical paper on options for orphaned polar bear cub disposition and submitted to Government of Manitoba officials. The paper advocates for revisiting the use of surrogate wild female bears for release purposes.
• Continued support of Manitoba Bear Rescue. We’re happy to report that facility which we helped start is now the “go to” orphaned cub rehabilitation center in the province.
As you can see, last year was a busy year and, as always, I should stress that the list above is not entirely comprehensive. I expect this year will be even busier as we push forward and capitalize on the momentum we have on exotic pet and other issues.
So, thank you again for supporting Zoocheck’s work. It’s challenging, laborious, frustrating and, at times, maddening, but it is making a difference. And, I should say very clearly, it wouldn’t be happening without you.