By Connor Lynch
DURHAM REGION — More livestock are killed in Durham Region than anywhere else in Ontario, according to OMAFRA’s wildlife damage compensation program.
Durham Region reported 458 predator kills in one year, from April 2016 to end-March 2017. That’s a significant leap from last year’s 329, which itself was a jump from the previous year’s total of 286.
Simcoe County farmers are getting hit hardest by wildlife in Western Ontario.
Simcoe County lost 383 animals to the teeth and claws of predators. That’s down by over 100 from last year’s 490 confirmed predator kills, according to OMAFRA’s wildlife damage compensation program.
Grey County was the second-hardest hit county in Western Ontario, but its numbers were well down from last year, when it was the worst hit county in the province.
Last year, in the county, there were 690 livestock kills. This year, there were 335, dropping nearly by half.
Prince Edward County was the previous year’s top target for predators. The county saw 363 predator kills previously but 305 this year.
But kills were down this year. There were a total of 4,507 kills, down from 5,863 last year.
The top predator remains the coyote. Kills dropped from last year, though only by 58.
Eastern Ontario took the brunt of the predator attacks. Of the top 10 worst hit counties, six of them were in Eastern Ontario.
Bears remained the second worst predator.
Mink were the third worst predator, killing 503 animals, 499 of which were chickens.
Sheep were once again the top target for predation, unlike last year, when chickens were the main target of predators.
Payouts were well down from last year. This year, farmers collected $1.05 million, down by $700,000 from last year. Three years ago farmers took in $1.3 million in compensation.
Cattle dominated the payouts, averaging $884 per head and representing almost 60 per cent of the total money paid out.