Trappers in northern Ontario say they are starting to see more animals showing up in their traps with mange.
Mange is a skin infection that can be fatal in wolves, coyotes, foxes, members of the cat family and bears.
It’s not fatal in humans, but it can show up in people as scabies.
Robin Horwath, the general manager of the Ontario Fur Managers Federation, says a recent harvest ban on wolves, proposed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, will mean the mange will continue to spread.
He says that’s because trappers are told to burn or bury any animal they harvest that has mange.
“These diseases, when they take hold they’re very hard to eradicate,” he said.
“So the lack of harvest and management in that form, what does the wildlife, or what do we have to suffer with livestock, as humans, with a total ban that isn’t based on science? That’s our main message.”
The Algonquin wolf, formerly known as the eastern wolf, is considered a threatened species.
Horwath says the spread of mange is affecting the fur industry.
“When [a trapper] catches [an animal] that has mange, it has absolutely no value,” he said.
“It’s not so much just for this year, it’s what it does potentially could cause problems in the future.”