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Ontario will not open a sandhill crane hunt, but there will be a federal study to determine ways to mitigate the agricultural damage they do.
Once near extinction, sandhill crane numbers have bounced back in recent years thanks to agricultural practices that make food available throughout the year. While their recovery is welcome, it has caused issues for some farmers.
That’s the impetus for a multi-year study that will use transmitters to track sandhill crane movements and their interaction with agriculture fields. University of Waterloo students will lead the research, which commences this fall.
“Data will be used to determine changes in abundance and distribution, and assess risk factors associated with field characteristics at different times of year,” said Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) spokesperson Samantha Bayard. “This information will also help augment current monitoring efforts for sandhill cranes as well as provide insights into the ecology of sandhill cranes nesting in Ontario and Quebec.”
Asked if the study could lead to a hunting season for sandhill cranes, as is the case in western provinces and many states, Bayard said ECCC has already been collecting data to see if hunting would help reduce agriculture crop damage.