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Canada Slashes Spending on Wildlife Protection - CBC

Date: 20-Sep-07
Country: CANADA

The cuts mean the Canadian Wildlife Service -- responsible
for studying and protecting wildlife in Canada -- has been
forced to halt all its scientific field and survey work.

In addition, a program monitoring the health of bird
populations lost half its budget, while the budget for an
operation that protects significant habitats for wildlife and
birds was reduced to zero.

The network observing changes in ecosystems lost 80 per
cent of its budget. CBC said the cuts would be in place until
the current fiscal year ended in early 2008.

Sandy Baumgartner of the nonprofit Canadian Wildlife
Federation -- which cooperates with the environment ministry on
some programs -- said the spending reductions could have
long-term consequences.

"A lot of it (the cuts) is actually research-based, which
is alarming because if nobody is out there studying the health
of the environment, how do we know where there are problems?"
she told Reuters.

The press spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird did
not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Critics regularly accuse Canada's minority Conservative
government of ignoring the environment, particularly over the
question of climate change.

Although Ottawa ratified the Kyoto climate change protocol,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada has no chance of
meeting its targets under the agreement.

CBC said that despite the spending cuts, the environment
ministry would spend C$60,000 (US$59,000) on a consultant to
study why employee morale was so bad.

(US$1=$1.02 Canadian)

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