By: The Working Forest Staff
Spot something unusual the last time you were out working in the woods? Notice someone not doing their part as a responsible resource user? Now there’s a way to help, by accessing a new online tool that aims to reduce and deter natural resource offences.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is asking Ontarians to help solve natural resource violations through a new interactive, searchable map of unsolved cases. The map can be found on the ministry’s ‘Solve a Natural Resource Case’ webpage which includes common natural resource violations, recent unsolved cases, and directions on how to report a violation or submit a tip. The map provides details on specific cases, summaries of violations, and the dates and locations of offences.
“We’re hoping that this new online map will help jog some memories and that people will contact our conservation officers if they heard or saw anything,” says Rick Ladouceur, director of the ministry’s enforcement branch. “Each tip — even one as simple as reporting a licence plate number or that a certain type of vehicle was seen in the area — can be the one that makes the difference between solving a case or not.”
Every year across Ontario, a number of cases – such as dumping waste on Crown land; the illegal sale of species at risk, wildlife or animal parts; leaving big game to spoil; and illegal timber harvesting – go unsolved, primarily because the offences happen in remote areas where eyewitnesses are scarce.
“We rely on community support and tips from the public to help us close cases,” adds Ladouceur. “We often send out news releases asking for the public’s assistance with specific cases and this interactive map is another tool that gives Ontarians a chance to help protect our province’s natural resources.”
The online map can be accessed by visiting www.ontario.ca/mnrftips.