|Status and Protection Laws|
The Manitoba Conservation Data Centre(CDC) lists the cougar as S2S3 - halfway between S2(rare throughout its range in Manitoba and may be subject to extirpation) and S3(uncommon in the province).
The cougar in Manitoba is classified as a Species of Special Concern, and is protected under the 1974 Manitoba Wildlife Act, but it is not listed under The Endangered Species Act at this time. The Manitoba Endangered Species Advisory Committee in 1992 recommended a status for the cougar as Vulnerable, which could be considered endangered or threatened if factors affecting it do not improve. This designation was not acted upon.
Hunting laws, etc. vary from province to province. In Manitoba, the cougar is currently a Protected Species under the Wildlife Act. The Manitoba Wildlife Act protects the cougar in Manitoba against hunting, trapping, taking, killing, or capturing except as permitted by the Act or the regulations.
A regulation to the Wildlife Act in 1974 states: "Except under authority of a permit issued by the Minister, no person shall hunt, kill, take or capture a cougar." Cougars are protected in Manitoba. If a person accidently traps or shoots a cougar, they must surrender the animal and report it to wildlife authorities. If a permit is given for destroying a cougar, limitations apply, such as a time-frame for hunting.
"Once a species has been declared by regulation as being threatened, endangered or extirpated, it is unlawful to kill, injure, possess, disturb or interfere with the species;destroy, disturb or interfere with the habitat of the species; or damage, destroy, obstruct or remove a natural resource on which the species depends for its life and propagation"(Legislation & Permits, Manitoba Conservation Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch, Province Of Manitoba).
The Wildlife Act does not include habitat protection. Other Acts, wildlife departments, branches and land owners help in that area. In this province, Manitoba Conservation protects wildlife resources, species and ecosystems. The Wildlife Act, The Endangered Species Act, and the Conservation Agreements Act of Manitoba share this responsibility. The Department develops programs, policies, and legislation for hunting and trapping, biodiversity conservation, and habitat and land management on Crown and private land.
Several land-stewardship acquisition programs and conservation agreements are delivered by the private Manitoba Heritage Corporation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
The Manitoba Critical Wildlife Habitat Program(CWHP) is a cost-shared program involving Manitoba Natural Resources(DNR), Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation(MHHC) and a variety of other agencies including Wildlife Habitat Canada, Manitoba Naturalists Society, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Environment Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Manitoba's Conservation Districts. The goal of the CWHP is to identify, preserve and manage the remaining critical wildlife habitats in Manitoba. Such programs are essential in protecting the cougar in Manitoba.
Some Acts do not protect the cougar. The Species at Risk Act(SARA) only has jurisdiction for endangered species if they are on federally owned lands or in special circumstances where provinces are not doing an adequate job of habitat protection. Provinces have jurisdiction over provincial crown lands and private property on which publicly owned resources such as wildlife occur. Since the cougar has a limited range on federal lands(he knows no boundaries), the animal is mainly the responsibility of the province(Species at Risk Act,2005).
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