ONTARIO — Farmers lost 1,938 animals to predators last year and collected over $737,500 from the province in compensation, with coyotes again accounting for the large majority of claims.
The wily canine species killed 1,268 head of domestic livestock in 2021, triggering farmer payouts totalling nearly $600,000 through the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation program. The prey included 736 sheep, 355 cattle, 126 poultry, 22 goats, 16 dear, 8 elk, 4 horses and 1 bison.
Last year’s overall predator toll is down from a year earlier, in 2020, when nearly 2,500 farm animals died through predation.
After coyotes, last year’s next deadliest predator was the fox — though based strictly on a head count of 174 poultry killed at a loss of $629.
By claim value, however, coyotes are followed by bears as the next most costly predator. Bears exacted just over $80,000 in compensated losses, most of that involving beehives (there’s no headcount for dead bees). Bears also preyed upon 23 cattle and 1 horse.
Wolves racked up the third highest dollar value in killed farm animals, at just over $32,555, killing 22 cattle, 16 sheep, 1 deer and 1 goat.
Perhaps surprisingly, ravens ranked fourth in kill value at $22,254. Ravens killed 20 cattle, 13 goats and 17 sheep.
The annual stats are compiled by Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as the entity that reimburses municipalities for farmer compensation claims.
The most costly kills, ranked by livestock compensation, were for cattle, at $421,550 in compensation. Bees ranked second, at $53,427 in compensation to farmers.
The province also counted a cougar among the killers of livestock in 2021. The elusive feline species picked off one cow at a Manitoulin farm. Compensation of $865.20 was paid to the producer.