Parks Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

A History of Canada's National Parks
Volume IV
by W.F. Lothian

Chapter 8
The Canadian Wildlife Service


The American bison and the pronghorn antelope were not the only wildlife species singled out by the National Parks Branch for preservation from extinction. The first regulations established in 1889 for the administration of Banff and other national parks forbade the "shooting at, wounding, capturing, or killing any wild animal or bird in the park". In later years, national park administrators would be called upon to perform a significant role in the protection of North American bird life, particularly in the conservation of species falling within the category of "migratory" birds as defined in the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

In common with the larger game animals native to Canada and the United States, many species of game birds including waterfowl were seriously affected by the advance of settlement. The opening up of previously primitive areas for agricultural development, the construction of railways and roads, and the birth of towns and cities, all brought about a rapid decrease in the numbers of wild birds, and drove them into remote areas, mostly in the north. The almost total absence of legal protection for waterfowl and other game birds from hunting and shooting accentuated the problem. The closing years of the 19th century witnessed the disappearance of several species, one of which had been believed to occur in inexhaustible numbers. These species were the passenger pigeon, the great auk and the Labrador duck. Other species, including the whooping crane, the trumpeter and whistling swans and the Eskimo curlew, barely survived extinction and persist only in small numbers.

A migrating herd of barren ground caribou — Northwest Territories

A group of muskoxen in battle formation. In Canada, they are found mainly on the Arctic Islands.

Extinct Bird Species

The disappearance of the passenger pigeon occurred under circumstances similar to that of the bison or buffalo. A large handsome bird, similar in colour and configuration to the surviving mourning dove, it existed in such numbers that it was one of the wonders of North America. It bred in sections of Canada east of the Rocky Mountains and across the United States. Descriptions of the passenger pigeon flocks left by competent observers almost belie comprehension. Aubudon, the famous naturalist, estimated that one flock contained over a billion birds.1 The species bred in rookeries where their weight often broke the branches of the trees in which they nested. Netting and shooting of the pigeons by professional fowlers for the market resulted in shipments of dead birds by the carload to centres of population. The species declined rapidly after the last great nesting of birds was observed near Petosky, Michigan, in 1878. By the end of the 19th century, the passenger pigeon was rarely seen, and the last surviving specimen died in the Cincinnati zoological gardens in 1914.2

The great auk, a member of the sea diver family, existed along the rocky shores of Great Britain, Newfoundland and Labrador. It became so well adapted to an aquatic life that its wings were reduced to mere flippers for swimming like those of the Antarctic penguin. After fleets of hardy fishermen began to invade the northeastern coast of America, the bird became an easy prey for them, and was literally clubbed to death for food. The Labrador duck, also a native to Canada's eastern coast, was reported extinct by 1875. As related in an earlier volume of this history, the whooping crane, the tallest and one of the most imposing of North American birds, was in danger of extinction by the early 1940s with a total population of barely more than a dozen. Discovery of its nesting site in Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories, in 1954, permitted cooperative action by scientists of the Canadian Wildlife Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, which should assist in perpetuating the species. By 1979 the total living population was more than 100.

Early Conservation

One of the earliest measures to protect bird life was taken during the reign of Henry VIII of England when, in 1534, an act was passed to help prevent the destruction of "wilde fowle" by protecting the eggs of herons, spoonbills, cranes, bitterns and bustards. Unfortunately, the act did not protect the birds themselves, even during the mating season.3 In the 18th and 19th centuries, other countries, including the Netherlands and Germany, passed laws to give protection to certain species of birds and their eggs. In March, 1902, a convention for the protection of birds useful to agriculture was signed at Paris by the representatives of 13 European countries.

In the United States, Massachusetts led the way in providing for a closed season for waterfowl in 1818; Rhode Island took action in 1846 to prohibit the shooting of waterfowl during the spring; and in 1845, the United States Department of Agriculture established a bureau of ornithology and mammalogy from which evolved the present United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Lacey Act of 1900 instituted the first comprehensive federal law for bird protection in the United States and was followed by the creation of federal and other wildlife refuges. This act prohibited the interstate shipment of game killed in violation of state laws. The National Association of Audubon Societies was formed in 1905, and it became an important agency in calling to public attention the need for bird protection.

Canadian Conservation Measures

The establishment of regulations in 1889 and 1890 to provide sanctuary conditions for animal and bird life in Canada's national parks no doubt helped to influence the enactment of conservation laws in areas outside the parks. The first large waterfowl refuge in Canada was created in June, 1887, when an area of 2,500 acres at the north end of Long Lake, Northwest Territories — now known as Last Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan — was reserved by federal order in council as a breeding ground for migratory waterfowl.4 Legislation by the provinces to protect wild game and birds was passed progressively after 1893, when Ontario established its Game Protection Act. Similar action was taken by British Columbia in 1895, by Quebec in 1899, and by Manitoba in 1900. The Unorganized Territories Game Act of 1894 extended protection to the wild life of the Northwest Territories, including that portion which now forms the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Commission of Conservation

The history of legislation designed to conserve natural resources in Canada, including its fish, game and bird life, should include mention of the Commission of Conservation, created by the Government of Canada in 1909. This action followed discussions at a North American Conservation Conference held at Washington that year, at which representatives of Canada, Newfoundland and Mexico were present on President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation. The conference adopted a declaration of principles, including a recommendation that a permanent conservation commission be established by each country represented.

The Conservation Act of Canada, which received royal assent in May, 1909, stipulated that the Commission "should take into consideration all questions brought to its notice relating to the conservation and better utilization of the natural resources of Canada, to make such inventories, collect and disseminate such information, conduct such investigations inside and outside of Canada, and frame such recommendations as seem conducive to the accomplishment of that end."5

The commission, consisting of 18 members appointed by order in council, was headed for 10 of its 12 years of existence by Clifford Sifton, a former Minister of the Interior, as chairman. Its activities were supervised by James White, deputy head and assistant chairman. In function and in status, the commission was purely advisory. It was authorized to study, investigate and advise. Throughout its life, the commission directed its efforts to compiling an inventory of Canada's natural resources, shaping public opinion and advising administrative authorities on more intelligent management of resources. Various branches of work were carried on under the direction of committees dealing with such diverse subjects as lands, forests, waters and water powers, minerals, fisheries, game and furbearing animals, and public health. In 1914, a special branch was organized in connection with town planning work. Reports of most of the studies and investigations undertaken under its auspices appeared in the annual reports of the commission. The Conservation Act was repealed by Parliament in May, 1921, and the commission then passed out of existence.

Migratory Birds Treaty

For years, Canada had provided the chief breeding grounds for numerous species of migratory birds and waterfowl in North America. However, even with the strictest enforcement of protective laws, Canadians were unable to prevent a decrease in the numbers of ducks, geese and other game birds unless sufficient protection was given to them during the period in which they were in United States territory. In some states, the shooting of wild fowl in the spring was permitted, and many birds which usually mated at that time were killed on their way north to their nesting places.

Eventually, as a result of the efforts of sportsmen, game protection associations, and other bodies interested in migratory bird protection, the United States government in 1913 passed the Federal Migratory Bird Law. This legislation, also termed the Weekes-McLean Law, promised more adequate protection for birds which, because of their migratory habits, could not be protected by some states while other states were derelict in the matter. The principal objects of the legislation were to reduce open seasons, to secure a uniform open season, and to prevent shooting of migratory birds in the spring.

The majority of the states amended their laws to conform with the federal regulations, and the results served to emphasize the need for cooperation between Canada and the United States in the protection of species which migrated from one country to the other. On July 7, 1913, the United States Senate adopted a resolution requesting the president to propose to the governments of other countries, the negotiation of a convention for the protection of all migratory birds.

Organizations in Canada and the United States then took action to advance the proposal for international action. On December 13, 1913, H.R. Charlton of Montreal sponsored a resolution at the annual meeting of the North American Fish and Game Protective Association in Ottawa, recommending that the executive committee seek the assistance of provincial governments in having the Dominion government negotiate a convention or treaty between Great Britain and the United States for the more efficient protection of migratory birds in Canada and the States.6

From its inception, the Commission of Conservation had provided strong support for measures to improve wildlife protection, including cooperation with the United States. At the fifth annual meeting of the commission held in Ottawa in January, 1914, members and others present were addressed by W.S. Haskell, counsel for the American Game Protection and Propagation Association. Mr. Haskell attended the meeting on the invitation of the chairman, Clifford Sifton, to explain the benefits that would result from the new United States migratory bird law, and, if possible, to help create an interest among Canadians in procuring a migratory birds treaty between Canada and the United States. The new federal law, Mr. Haskell observed, would increase the number of birds migrating northwards to Canada, and after the breeding season more birds also would be returning to the south.7

The appeal was successful, for before the meeting ended, a resolution was adopted providing "that the provincial governments of Canada be urged to solicit the good offices of the Dominion government in obtaining the negotiation of a convention for a treaty between Great Britain and the United States for the purpose of securing more effective protection for the birds which pass from one country to the other."8 At the time, treaties made on behalf of Canada were signed by Great Britain.

Draft Treaty Submitted

Advice respecting the resolutions must have been conveyed promptly to Washington, for in February, 1914, the United States Government submitted to the Department of External Affairs in Ottawa the draft of a convention between Great Britain and the United States for the protection of migratory birds in the United States and Canada. The Department of Agriculture was selected to undertake the necessary liaison and administrative work in Canada, and this fell largely on Dr. C. Gordon Hewitt, the Dominion Entomologist. Dr. Hewitt already had been active in promoting the proposed treaty, and in January, 1914, had informally discussed international cooperation with a member of the United States Biological Survey.

The draft of the proposed convention was forwarded to the various provincial governments for review and comment. Objections were raised by two provinces only, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, and these were not considered to be insuperable. The two federal government departments most concerned, Agriculture and Interior, together with the Commission of Conservation, strongly concurred that the protection of migratory birds was most desirable. Consequently, the Secretary of State for External Affairs obtained approval for an Order in Council on May 15, 1915, which recommended that the proposed convention for the purpose of protecting migratory birds should be concluded. Further negotiations were undertaken early in 1916 by Dr. Hewitt with Dr. H.W. Henshaw, chief of the United States Biological Survey in Washington. After agreement had been reached on all matters but one respecting spring shooting, a revised draft convention was prepared and submitted to the Government of Canada in March, 1916. This draft was ratified by order in council of June 29, 1916, which stated that "Canada is prepared to agree to the conclusion of the convention," subject to certain amendments which had been agreed on by Dr. Hewitt and Dr. Henshaw as a result of informal negotiation.9 The treaty was signed in Washington on August 16, 1916 by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, the British ambassador, and Robert Lansing, secretary of state of the United States.

The treaty was ratified by the United States senate on August 29, 1916. In accordance with Article VIII of the convention, a bill to give effect to the convention in Canada was introduced in the House of Commons by Dr. W.J. Roche, Minister of the Interior, on June 21, 1917. Dr. Roche explained that most of the negotiations with United States officials had been carried on by the Canadian Department of Agriculture, and that all the provinces had consented to the legislation being carried out under the provisions of this treaty. He also stated that the administration of the proposed Migratory Birds Convention Act would become a responsibility of the Department of the Interior. The bill received third reading on July 21, 1917, and was given royal assent on August 29, 1917.10

Dr. Hewitt later commented: "The conclusion of this convention constitutes the most important and far-reaching measure ever taken in the history of bird protection... This international measure will affect over one thousand species and subspecies of birds from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Pole, and we may confidently look forward not merely to a cessation of the decrease but to an increase of our migratory birds, which are so valuable a national asset."11

The most important provision in the convention, as viewed by Dr. Hewitt, was Article II, which provided for (a) a closed season on migratory game birds from March 1 to September 1, with an exception relating to certain hunting rights of Eskimos and Indians; (b) an open season of three and one-half months; and (c) a closed season throughout the year on insectivorous birds. The open season was to be fixed in any period between September 1 and March 10 following, to suit local conditions.

Advisory Board on Wildlife Protection

The need for advice in the administration of the proposed treaty, as well as in formulating policy on the protection and use of wild life in the Northwest Territories, was anticipated by the Minister of the Interior. Consequently, in December, 1916, he recommended to the Privy Council the appointment of an advisory board on wildlife protection. As conceived, the board would form an interdepartmental committee to which matters of vital importance could be referred. The recommendation, which was approved by the governor in Council on December 28, 1916, also named the members of the board. They included James White, Assistant Chairman of the Commission of Conservation; Duncan C. Scott, Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs; Dr. C. Gordon Hewitt, Dominion Entomologist; Dr. Rudolph M. Anderson of the National Museum, then part of the Geological Survey of Canada; and J.B. Harkin, Commissioner of Dominion Parks.12

One of the first assignments the board undertook was drafting legislation to make effective Canada's participation in the Migratory Birds Convention Treaty. As already mentioned, the Migratory Birds Convention Act became law in August, 1917. In turn, approval of the new act called for the enactment of regulations necessary for the proper enforcement of the Act. The first migratory bird regulations, drafted by the advisory board, were approved by order in council of April 23, 1918.13 They established hunting seasons for each of the provinces, which varied according to the migratory habits of the birds concerned. As bag limits were not stipulated, this important requirement was provided for in an amendment to the regulations which was approved on May 16, 1920. Subsequent amendments to the regulations were made periodically to meet changing conditions or emergency situations.

Northwest Game Act

At the annual meeting of the Commission of Conservation held in Ottawa on January 16 and 17, 1917, a resolution was passed providing for the revision of the Northwest Game Act of 1906, and the administration of such legislation by the Commissioner of Dominion Parks. Early in 1917, the Advisory Board on Wildlife Protection undertook a complete revision of this act which related to the protection of the game and fur-bearing animals of the Northwest Territories. A bill introduced in Parliament by the Minister of the Interior on June 1 was passed with minor amendments. It received royal assent on September 20, 1917. As forecast, administration of the act was vested in the Commissioner of Dominion Parks, and regulations made under the new legislation were established on May 1, 1918. The Northwest Game Act and the regulations made thereunder were administered by the Commissioner of Parks until 1922, when the responsibility was transferred to the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. This action followed the establishment of a new Branch of the Department of the Interior — the Northwest Territories Branch — to administer the vast northern area.

Wildlife Division Formed

The completion in April, 1918, of legislation required to protect migratory birds in Canada set the stage for new activity in the National Parks Branch. Commissioner Harkin instituted a program to acquaint the public with the implications of the new regulations and to solicit its assistance in their enforcement. Articles and pamphlets were prepared and distributed to the press, to schools, and to conservation groups throughout Canada. Lecture notes and slides were made available to volunteer lecturers, and a special lecture program was undertaken at the Central Canada Exhibition held in September at Ottawa.

During the late summer of 1918, a public competition was advertised in the Canadian press for an officer to head the administration of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Northwest Game Act. The successful applicant was Hoyes Lloyd of Toronto, Ontario. Although born in Hamilton, Lloyd had spent most of his life in Toronto, where he attended high school and the University of Toronto. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree in 1910 and master's degree in 1911, specializing in chemistry. From 1912 to 1918, he was employed as a chemist in the public health laboratories of the City of Toronto, where he was in charge of the control and testing of milk.

From early manhood, Hoyes Lloyd had becomed interested in ornithology and had served in 1909 as a forest ranger and deputy game warden in Temagami Forest Reserve, Ontario. Later that year he won a gold medal at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto for the best collection of bird skins. Seven years later he was elected an associate member of the American Ornithologists Union.14

Lloyd reported for duty in Ottawa on December 11, 1918, and later was given the title of Supervisor of Wildlife Protection. With the assistance of a small staff, incorporating some members of the branch with experience in wildlife matters, he undertook the development of what later became a very important component of the National Parks Branch — the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Wildlife Officers Recruited

An urgent requirement was the organization of a federal warden service to enforce the Migratory Bird Regulations in the various regions of Canada. The Maritime or Atlantic provinces were selected for the inauguration of this service. A temporary staff of bird wardens, drawn largely from returned military personnel, was appointed in April, 1919. Nine were full time and two were part time employees. During the autumn of 1919, competitive examinations were held by the Civil Service Commission and permanent appointments were made.15 Following a public competition, Robie W. Tufts of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, was appointed chief migratory bird officer for the region in November, 1919. Tufts had become interested in bird life while a youngster, and under parental tuition during outdoor excursions had gained a knowledge of bird and plant life. Later he attended Acadia University for a year before entering a career in financial institutions.

During the following year, two additional supervisory appointments were made to the federal migratory bird service. Harrison F. Lewis, a native of Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York, was selected following a competition for the post of chief federal migratory bird officer for Ontario and Quebec. Lewis' parents were Canadians, and later returned to Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. Harrison Lewis became interested in birds when a boy, and vacations spent in the vicinity of Yarmouth brought him into contact with a high school principal having a wide knowledge of bird and plant life. Later Lewis taught school in Wolfville, and in 1914 entered Acadia University as a sophomore, where he obtained a bachelor of arts degree. Service in the Canadian armed forces during World War I interrupted his formal education, and following his discharge from the army in July, 1918, he accepted civilian employment as an auditor with the Department of National Defence at Quebec City. While a resident of Bergerville, a suburb of Quebec, Harrison Lewis began a study of ornithology under the guidance of one of Quebec's leading ornithologists, C.E. Dionne of Laval University. To this study Lewis later attributed his success in obtaining the appointment of federal migratory bird officer for Quebec and Ontario.16

J.A. Munro of Okanagan Landing, British Columbia, was the successful candidate for the position of chief migratory birds officer for the provinces west of Ontario. Munro had been born in Kildonan, Manitoba, but had moved with his family to Toronto in 1898. He became interested in ornithology as a hobby and eventually gained sufficient knowledge to have articles published in newspapers and scientific magazines. He moved to British Columbia in 1911, and while operating a modest orchard developed his knowledge of birds and other wildlife. He joined the American Ornithologists Union and eventually gained the status of a fellow in that body.17

Educational Work

The task of educating the public in bird protection was given priority by the new supervisor of wildlife protection. In 1919, Hoyes Lloyd produced several pamphlets which were given wide distribution. They included Canada's Feathered Friends, No Spring Shooting Means More Migratory Game, The German Badge of Cruelty, and Protection of Bird Neighbours. Contributions made by the National Museum of Canada staff were Vanished and Vanishing Birds by P.A. Taverner, and The Brant of the Atlantic Coast by R.M. Anderson. J.H. Fleming added a paper entitled Why Canada and the United States Combined to Stop Spring Shooting.18

In 1920, P.A. Taverner, ornithologist of the National Museum, also prepared the text of the illustrated pamphlet Bird Houses and Their Occupants, one of the most popular ever produced by the National Parks Branch. Lessons in Bird Protection was compiled in 1921 from articles written by the chief migratory bird officers, R.W. Tufts, H.F. Lewis and J.A. Munro. Another popular pamphlet, Attracting Birds with Food and Water by R.O. Merriam was issued in 1923 by the National Parks Branch. In 1921, the Branch purchased a supply of the publication, The Conservation of the Wild Life of Canada by Dr. C. Gordon Hewitt, which was published posthumously by his widow that year. Copies were given selected distribution to field officers, honorary game wardens and others.

Assistance in Enforcement

In 1919, the supervisor of wildlife protection arranged for the appointment of honorary game officers throughout Canada to assist in the enforcement of migratory bird regulations. They were given authority under the act of game officers with the powers of a police constable. Although such appointments were honorary, the officers were entitled under law to retain one-half of fines levied by the courts on persons convicted of infractions of the Migratory Bird Regulations. During 1920 and 1921, a total of 190 honorary officers were appointed. In addition, all forestry officers of the Department of the Interior and fishery officers of the Department of Marine and Fisheries were appointed game officers under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also were game officers under the act. In his annual report for the year ending March 31, 1925, the Commissioner of National Parks reported the number of persons serving as honorary staff to be 1,522.

Administration of the Act during the early years of its enforcement resulted in frequent convictions. During the fiscal year 1920-21, officers of the National Parks Branch brought to court 55 cases involving infractions of the regulations. Convictions were obtained in 46 cases, of which four were suspended. Leniency on the part of magistrates sometimes was challenged. Two years after the Migratory Bird Regulations came into force, the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island, on appeal by the federal Crown, reversed the decision of a provincial magistrate who had dismissed a charge brought under the Migratory Birds Convention Act.19

Bird Sanctuaries

An important measure undertaken by the Minister of the Interior following the establishment of the Migratory Birds Division was the creation of bird sanctuaries throughout Canada. The first of these areas to be set aside under the provisions of the act were portions of Bonaventure Island, all of Percé Rock and Great Bird Rocks off the coast of the Gaspe Peninsula in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.20 All three areas had long been breeding and nesting sites of numerous birds native to the coastal areas. The order in council had the approval of the Province of Quebec.

During 1916 and 1917, Dr. R.M. Anderson of the National Museum performed a valuable service in examining a number of areas in western Canada which had been suggested as potential sanctuaries. On June 15, 1920, seven bird sanctuaries were established on lakes in Alberta, including Lac la Biche and Pakowki Lake. The following year, the sanctuary created in 1887 at Last Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan was enlarged by order in council under authority of the act, and the entire lake area declared a sanctuary.

In 1925, Dr. Anderson's recommendations began to take form, when 25 bird sanctuaries were established in western Canada. Of these, seven were situated in Alberta, 12 in Saskatchewan and six in Manitoba. The same year, 10 areas including several islands and rocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence were created sanctuaries. A site in the vicinity of Lethbridge known as Henderson Park, containing 69 acres, also became a bird sanctuary. Between 1929 and 1932, additional sanctuaries established included Inglewood and Lost Lakes near Calgary, Salt Lagoon near Esquimalt, British Columbia and the grounds surrounding Manoir Richelieu at Murray Bay, Quebec.

Public Shooting Grounds

In 1921, Commissioner Harkin forecast the reservation of suitable areas as public shooting grounds, where the public might have reasonable access to game within seasons established by provincial law. The proposal found favour in the prairie provinces, and during 1925 seven areas in Manitoba, 12 in Saskatchewan and 32 in Alberta were reserved by federal order in council as public shooting grounds. All areas set aside either faced on or included lakes frequented by waterfowl. As time went on, additional areas were added to the long list of bird sanctuaries. By March 31, 1955, the number had increased to 86, and the areas involved totalled 1,800 square miles.

Bird Banding Registry

In 1927, the Supervisor of Wild Life Protection established a registry of all birds banded in Canada. Up to that time, records of birds captured or shot which carried bands were maintained at the United States Biological Survey in Washington. Under a new system, persons banding birds in Canada under licence would submit their records to the National Parks Branch at Ottawa, where copies would be made and the original records then sent on to Washington. This arrangement permitted a single numbering register for the continent, and until 1968, the bands supplied to the holders of permits were issued by the United States Biological Survey. They have since been issued at Ottawa, Canada.

All bird banding operations were carried on by voluntary effort. Holders of permits issued by the National Parks Wildlife Division furnished their own equipment other than bands, and paid incidental expenses. The information supplied by banding records has permitted the collection of invaluable information on bird migration. One of the first bird banders in Canada was Jack Miner of Kingsville, Ontario, who developed and maintained a bird sanctuary on his own property. Miner's banding activities were commenced in 1909, and in 1926 he transferred to the National Parks Branch letters which he had received reporting returns on his banded birds over a period of 18 years. During the first 10 years of its existence, the Migratory Birds Division received a record of approximately 120,000 birds which had been banded. By 1944 the number of bandings recorded had totalled 452,532. Almost 30 years later, in 1972, the number of birds for which records had been received from licensed banders totalled 3,523,253.

In addition to maintaining a bird banding register, the division was called on to issue a variety of permits and licences. These covered various phases of bird conservation and protection. Included were permits issued to collectors for scientific and propagation purposes, and to others for the destruction of birds damaging agricultural or fishery interests. Permits also were issued for the practice of taxidermy, and for the taking of birds for banding purposes.

Division Activities Expanded

By 1921, the work of the Wildlife Division was increasing. Both Commissioner Harkin and Hoyes Lloyd took an active part in the activities of the Advisory Board on Wildlife Protection, of which Lloyd became secretary in 1921. The commissioner used conferences on conservation as a medium for publicizing the role of national parks in wildlife preservation, and in calling to public attention the duties and responsibilities imposed by the Migratory Birds Convention Act. In 1922, Harkin instituted the federal-provincial game conferences that were held in Ottawa for years, usually biennially. At the first one held on December 6-8, 1922, all provinces but two were represented. A full representation was obtained at later sessions. Commissioner Harkin facilitated the attendance of delegates at the first conference by having the Department of the Interior pay travelling expenses and a per diem allowance for each representative. The conference took the form of a round table discussion, which gave rise to a series of resolutions. These recommended greater protection for several species of birds, better control of illegal game and fur shipments, uniform adjustment of bag limits for Canada and the United States, and the protection of marine animals. The commissioner also encouraged the attendance of the Supervisor of Wildlife Protection at other wildlife conferences.

Buffalo Park Reductions

In 1923 the National Parks Branch became involved in measures to control the growth of the national herd of buffalo in Buffalo National Park at Wainwright, Alberta. A small slaughter carried out in the park in 1923 revealed that a high percentage of the animals killed were infected with bovine tuberculosis. Although this development was kept from public knowledge, publicity attending plans for future herd reductions by slaughter resulted in public protests against this practice. Interdepartmental discussions involving the heads of the Northwest Territories and the National Parks branches led to a recommendation that surplus buffalo be shipped north to Wood Buffalo Park on the Slave River. The Canadian Field Naturalist, a small magazine published by the Ottawa Field Naturalist Club, carried in its columns for December, 1924, an article prepared by Maxwell Graham, chief of the Wild Animal Division of the Northwest Territories Branch. Before 1921, Graham had been a member of Commissioner Harkin's branch staff in charge of park animals. The article forecast the shipment of surplus buffalo from Wainwright to Wood Buffalo Park, a proposal that raised serious misgivings in the minds of wildlife specialists.

In a memorandum to the Commissioner of Parks, Hoyes Lloyd registered a formal protest against the move which he felt would subject the purebred wood buffalo of the northern region to infection from the plains bison it was proposed to introduce in Wood Buffalo Park. Conservationists in Canada and in the United States also made known to the department their objection to a mingling of the subspecies. However, as recounted in an earlier chapter of this volume, the transfer of 6,673 plains buffalo was made. A resulting infection of the wood buffalo was discovered by a mammalogist of the Mackenzie District Forest and Wildlife Service, following a slaughter of surplus animals in 1947.

Conservation Commission Abolished

The early 1920s also saw the abolition of the Commission of Conservation. At the opening of Parliament on February 14, 1921, the government gave notice in the speech from the throne of its intention to repeal the Conservation Act, and thus end the activities of the commission. Bill 187 was introduced in the Senate, and later in the House of Commons. During the debate, Prime Minister Arthur Meighen explained that the best work of the commission had been accomplished and that it had "invaded the province of one department after another." He also stated that its efforts were duplicating those of other government departments and that it was unduly and increasingly expensive.

The work of the commission was defended by Dr. H.S. Beland, M.P. for Beauce, who voiced the opinion that the commission had come into conflict with existing government agencies that claimed they should be doing the work. Apparently studies carried out on water power and other matters within the orbit of the Department of the Interior, of which the Prime Minister previously had been the minister, helped to influence the government's decision. The bill received third reading on May 26, 1921, and subsequently the commission was disbanded. Several members of its staff, including those of its town planning division, were absorbed by the National Parks Branch, forming the nucleus of an architectural and town planning division.

Throughout its existence, the Commission of Conservation strongly supported the "National Park idea", and was a positive force in the completion of the Migratory Bird Treaty between Canada and the United States. The last large assembly which it sponsored was a national conference on the conservation of game, fur-bearing animals, and other wildlife held at Ottawa in February, 1919. This gathering was formally opened by Arthur Meighen as Minister of the Interior. Delegates who read papers included leading conservationists of Canada and the United States. Among them was Commissioner Harkin, who dealt with the role of Canada's national parks as wildlife sanctuaries. E.W. Nelson, chief of the United States Biological Survey, outlined the benefits of the recently concluded Migratory Birds Treaty with Canada; he observed that one of the most notable results was the prohibition of the sale of migratory birds throughout his country. Among other delegates submitting papers were Dr. W.T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park; Jack Miner, Canadian bird conservationist, and Dr. C.G. Hewitt, consulting zoologist of the Canadian Department of Agriculture.21

Drought on the Prairies

During 1929 severe drought conditions, which were to continue for several years, were experienced in the prairie provinces. In Saskatchewan it was believed that the wild duck population was reduced by 90 percent. In 1930 the seriousness of the situation was made public in Canada, and brought to the attention of the United States authorities. Seasonal bag limits for ducks in Manitoba and Saskatchewan were reduced. In 1931, conditions were personally investigated by the chief migratory birds officer for the western provinces, in association with an officer of the United States Biological Survey. They found many lakes frequented by waterfowl to be almost, if not entirely, dry.

By presidential proclamation, the shooting season for migratory waterfowl in the United States was reduced that year from three and a half months to one month. In Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, also, the shooting season was curtailed. By 1935 the situation had improved slightly, but in 1936 duck hunting regulations in Canada were made more restrictive, as duck and goose shooting seasons were reduced to two months. Conditions improved in the 1940s, and gradually restrictions and seasons were relaxed.

Administrative Changes

With the enactment of the Transfer of Natural Resources Acts by Parliament in 1930, the ownership of all public lands in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the railway belt of British Columbia passed to the respective provinces. Exceptions were the national parks listed in a schedule to the acts, and also lands which remained under federal jurisdiction by special agreement. Among the lands and waters transferred to the provinces were all the public shooting grounds which had been under federal jurisdiction, together with all federal bird sanctuaries situated on Crown lands. Relevant files and other records of these lands were transferred to the appropriate provincial departments.

Another administrative change occurred in October, 1932, when the general responsibility for police work connected with the enforcement of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations was transferred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.22 All other responsibilities originally entrusted to the migratory bird officers were retained. Under the new arrangement, the chief migratory bird officers would serve as liaison officers between the district offices of the RCMP and the Department of the Interior; they were available to furnish technical advice, expert evidence in court, and other assistance to the police officers. On December 17, 1932, five assistant migratory bird wardens in the Maritime provinces were transferred to the RCMP. Funds sufficient to pay their salaries for the balance of the fiscal year also were transferred to the police account. The change was not popular with the migratory bird wardens, particularly in the Maritime provinces where the chief migratory bird officer deplored the loss of five highly trained assistants.

Additional Staff

In 1934, a major change was made in the organization of the Wildlife Division. The western district, comprising the four provinces west of Ontario, was divided. British Columbia became a separate district, with J.A. Munro remaining as chief federal migratory bird officer. The remaining three provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were reconstituted as a new district, to which J. Dewey Soper was appointed as chief migratory bird officer.

Although Soper had been born in Guelph, Ontario, he had studied at the University of Alberta in Edmonton from 1921 to 1923. He had taken a keen interest in mammals and birds while in his teens, and at university had studied zoology, geology and literature. He was a member of the Canadian Arctic expedition of 1923, and also conducted investigations for the National Museum of Canada in the Arctic Islands from 1924 to 1926. From 1928 to 1931, he was engaged by the Northwest Territories administration to undertake game studies on Baffin Island. With the cooperation of the National Parks Branch, Soper in 1928 began a search for the nesting grounds of the blue goose. The search was ended in June, 1929, when Soper discovered the breeding grounds of this interesting species on the tundra east of Bowman's Bay, Foxe Basin, in the Northwest Territories. Following his appointment as chief migratory bird officer, Soper made his headquarters at Winnipeg.

Scientific Staff Engaged

Before 1928, practically all scientific research in the national parks was undertaken either by the chief migratory bird officers or by scientific personnel engaged under contract from outside the department. One of the earliest of these contractors was Dr. Donald Rawson of the University of Saskatchewan, who, for several years from 1928, conducted game fish studies in Prince Albert and other parks.

In 1938, the Wildlife Division staff was augmented by the employment of Dr. C.H.D. Clarke as park mammalogist. Dr. Clarke had undertaken research in the Thelon Game Sanctuary in the Northwest Territories, and later had been employed at the National Museum of Canada. One of his first assignments was an investigation of the wildlife of Banff National Park in 1939, followed by similar studies in Jasper, Cape Breton Highlands and Point Pelee National Parks. He also contributed to the solution of disease problems in Buffalo National Park, Wainwright, which led to the abolition of the buffalo herd, and the disposal of numerous elk, moose, deer and hybrid buffalo which also inhabited that park.

Another addition to the scientific personnel of the Wildlife Division resulted from the appointment of Dr. Harold M. Rogers on July 2, 1940, as limnologist. Dr. Rogers resumed the work of investigating the fish resources of the national parks that had been instituted by Dr. Rawson. By the end of the 1940 season, Rogers had visited a number of the western parks and later submitted reports on each area. Dr. Rogers enlisted in the RCAF in 1941, and lost his life in air operations in England on April 3, 1943.23

In 1943 Dr. Ian McTaggart Cowan, a zoologist with the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, was engaged on contract to study game conditions in a number of the western parks. Dr. Cowan remained in the employ of the department for several years on a seasonal basis, and his studies were of great assistance to the Wildlife Division in formulating policy on wildlife management.

Retirement of Hoyes Lloyd

In November, 1943, Hoyes Lloyd resigned as supervisor of wildlife protection in the national parks, effective January 1, 1944. Lloyd had given 25 years of service in the National Parks Branch, and had the satisfaction of watching it grow from a one-man operation to a nationwide service that covered a wide scope of federal wildlife conservation activity. Although under retirement age, he wished to enjoy the later years of his life in private endeavor, related in particular to ornithological and other forms of wildlife conservation. During his career he had held membership in numerous societies, groups and organizations promoting wildlife conservation. He had headed a number of them, and had served as chairman of numerous conferences held in Canada and the United States. Hoyes Lloyd died January 28, 1978.

Dr. Lewis Promoted

Following the retirement of Hoyes Lloyd, Dr. Harrison Lewis served as acting superintendent of wildlife protection. On May 15, 1944, he was promoted to superintendent. Almost five years after his appointment as chief federal migratory bird officer for Ontario and Quebec, Harrison Lewis had applied for and obtained educational leave to attend the University of Toronto. There he obtained his MA in 1926. Three years later he completed graduate studies at Cornell University at Ithaca, New York, from which he obtained his doctorate. Between obtaining his MA and his doctorate he had performed his official duties in the federal government service with skill and authority, and had prepared for publication a number of papers on bird and other wildlife conservation. His promotion to the position vacated by Hoyes Lloyd was a logical development.

The vacancy created by the promotion of Dr. Lewis was filled by the appointment of Dr. Oliver H. Hewitt in May, 1944, as chief federal migratory bird officer for Ontario and Quebec. In August, 1944, Dr. C.H.D. Clarke left the employ of the Department of Mines and Resources to enter that of the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. His successor as mammologist was A.W.F. Banfield, who was engaged in May, 1946. Meanwhile, on August 15, 1945, Dr. Victor E. Solman had been appointed to the long unfilled post of limnologist, formerly held by Dr. Rogers. Dr. Solman initiated studies of game fish in a number of the western parks in 1945, that led to detailed investigations in the years following.

Dominion Wildlife Service

A major reorganization of the Department of Mines and Resources effective November 1, 1947, served to emphasize the importance of the conservation and management of Canada's wildlife resources.24 The former Lands, Parks and Forests Branch was renamed the Lands and Development Services Branch; the National Parks Bureau became the National Parks Service, and its former Wildlife Division formed the nucleus of a new Dominion Wildlife Service. The function of this new service was to administer the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Northwest Territories Game and Fur Regulations. It also was to be responsible for providing the Northwest Territories Branch and the National Parks Service with advice and assistance in wildlife management.

In 1945, a new Forest and Wildlife Management Service headed by E.G. Oldham had been established at Fort Smith for the Mackenzie District of the Northwest Territories. Later this organization had been strengthened by the appointment of a forest engineer, J.S. Prescott, and two mammalogists, W.A. Fuller and W.E. Stevens. Following the departmental reorganization, these two mammalogists were included in the establishment of the Dominion Wildlife Service, but continued their investigations in the territories.

Additional changes in personnel had occurred in 1946 and 1947. In July, 1946, the former chief federal migratory bird officers were redesignated Dominion wildlife officers.25 In May, 1947, R.W. Tufts, who had held such a position for the Maritime provinces since November, 1919, retired from the public service. He was succeeded by George F. Boyer. Also in May, 1947, the responsibilities of Dr. O.H. Hewitt, Dominion wildlife officer for Ontario and Quebec, were divided. Dr. Hewitt was assigned the responsibility for activities in Ontario only, and Dr. A.U. Rajotte received a short-term appointment as Dominion wildlife officer for Quebec. On June 1, 1948, Dr. Hewitt was recalled to the headquarters staff at Ottawa to become a wildlife management officer in charge of migratory bird research. He was replaced by Dr. George M. Stirrett as Dominion wildlife officer for Ontario.

Service is Expanded

With increased responsibilities, the new Dominion Wildlife Service began to expand both its activities and its staff. In September, 1948, the Dominion wildlife officer for the prairies provinces was assigned to duties in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Consequently J. Dewey Soper moved his headquarters from Winnipeg to Edmonton. Later that month, D.G. Colls was appointed Dominion wildlife officer for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Colonel J.P. Richards of the headquarters staff of the Northwest Territories Branch was transferred to the Dominion Wildlife Service and became assistant to the chief, Dr. Lewis. Col. Richards had been responsible for the administration of the Northwest Game Act and regulations for many years, and was thoroughly conversant with many aspects of wildlife conservation in the Territories.

Following the transfer of mammalogists Fuller and Stevens to the Dominion Wildlife Service, A.W.F. Banfield became chief mammalogist. Four additional staff positions, designated wildlife management officers, where added to the establishment. They were filled by Dr. Hewitt, D.A. Munro, G.F. Boyer and J.S. Tener, some of whom had served as student assistants in field work. Investigations in the national parks and in the territories were expanded in 1948 and some studies were undertaken under contract by staff from Canadian universities with special qualifications.

During 1949, further appointments and promotions were made. Dr. V.E.F. Solman, limnologist since 1945, was appointed chief biologist in June. Later in the month, J.P. Cuerrier, associate professor of biology in the University of Montreal, received the appointment of limnologist in the Wildlife Service. In November, 1949, J.A. Munro, Dominion wildlife officer for British Columbia, retired from the public service. He had served in that capacity for 29 years, had conducted many wildlife investigations, and had made many valuable contributions to the growing list of reports and papers on the wildlife of Canada. He was succeeded by R.H. MacKay.

Newfoundland entered the Canadian Confederation in March, 1949, and Dr. Lewis took steps to have a Dominion wildlife officer appointed for that province. In the course of a visit to Newfoundland that year, Dr. Lewis interviewed Premier J.R. Smallwood, who endorsed the proposed program for the preservation of Newfoundland's bird population. Later, Dr. Lewis interviewed Leslie M. Tuck, a qualified applicant for the position of Dominion wildlife officer for the province. Tuck's appointment was recommended, and was confirmed on October 1.

Further Reorganization

The former Department of Mines and Resources went out of existence on January 18, 1950, and the responsibility for conservation activities was allocated to the Department of Resources and Development. It included five divisions, National Parks and Historic Sites; Canadian Wildlife; National Museum of Canada; Water Resources, and Lands. A further realignment of responsibilities effective December 1, 1950, incorporated the Wildlife Division, the National Parks and Historic Sites Division and the National Museum within the National Parks Branch.26 The retirement of R.A. Gibson, Director of the former Development Services Branch, permitted the promotion of James Smart to the position of director, National Parks Branch.

In April, 1950, Dr. Lewis had succeeded in having the name "Canadian Wildlife Division" changed to "Canadian Wildlife Service" on the suggestion of Dr. George Stirrett, his wildlife officer for Ontario. However, owing to later organizational changes, the new name was not used in the annual report of the department until that for 1954-55 was published.

On December 9, 1950, an order in council transferred responsibility for the conservation and management of wildlife resources in the Northwest Territories to the Northern Administration and Land Branch.27 Concurrently four members of Dr. Lewis' clerical staff were transferred to that branch.

Noteworthy among staff changes made in this period were the appointment of Harry R. Webster as a Dominion wildlife officer for the Maritime region in 1949, and Louis Lemieux to a similar position in the province of Quebec in 1950. At the close of the fiscal year 1950-51, the Canadian Wildlife Division of the National Parks Branch included a chief; seven Dominion wildlife officers representing 10 provinces and the territories; a chief mammalogist at Ottawa and five mammalogists with field responsibilities; four wildlife management officers; a chief biologist; a chief limnologist, and supporting staff.28 Senior scientific staff was assisted in field studies and operations by the engagement of summer student assistants with a knowledge of biology.

Investigation and Research

With a substantial increase in scientific personnel, the Canadian Wildlife Service in 1950 was broadening its activities in many fields of endeavour. An investigation into the declining population of the barren-ground caribou in the Northwest Territories had been under way since 1948. The chief mammalogist, A.W.F. Banfield, completed a report in 1950 on his caribou investigations; these had been made with the aid of aircraft from bases at Yellowknife and Reliance, Northwest Territories. The caribou study was carried on farther east and north by J.P. Kelsall in the Great Bear Lake and Coppermine regions.

Studies of beaver and wood bison were undertaken in Wood Buffalo Park by W.A. Fuller, including an examination of animals slaughtered as part of the herd reduction program. Mammalogist W.E. Stevens continued investigations of the muskrat population in the Mackenzie River delta. The feasibility of placing bison and elk in southwestern Yukon Territory was investigated by J.D. Soper.

Jean-Paul Cuerrier, a limnologist, carried on the study of game fish in Riding Mountain, Prince Albert, Jasper, Yoho, Banff and Waterton Lakes parks, assisted by W.M. Gilmour. Park limnologists assisted in the revision of the parks anglers guides and the national parks fishing regulations. A shipment of yearling lake trout was made from the Jasper hatchery for release in Clear Lake, Riding Mountain National Park. Poisoning operations were undertaken to eliminate suckers and other coarse fish in two lakes in Waterton Lakes Park and in Herbert Lake in Banff Park.

Dr. V.E.F. Solman, chief biologist, supervised counts of two interesting bird species, woodcock and Wilson's snipe, conducted waterfowl studies, and participated in a study for the control of mergansers on salmon waters. He also engaged in discussions with United States wildlife officers concerning joint studies of waterfowl in Canada.

Waterfowl studies also were made by Dominion wildlife officers and by wildlife management officers in their respective districts. These studies included population trends of birds in various waters; crop damage attributed to cranes in Manitoba; the effects on bird life of insect sprays used in orchards in the Okanagan district of British Columbia; and the results of oil pollution on waterfowl along the coasts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Wildlife officers also kept a close watch in their regions for infractions of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations.

Dr. Lewis Retires

In September, 1951, Dr. Harrison Lewis gave official notice of his intention to retire as chief of the Canadian Wildlife Service, effective March 31, 1952. Dr. Lewis had not reached the obligatory age of retirement, and his decision to leave the public service was quite voluntary. As he explained in his letter of resignation, he had long cherished plans to devote some time to independent conservation activity in the public interest, including wildlife research and the publication of papers and articles on various wildlife subjects.29

On his retirement, Dr. Lewis had to his credit more than 31 years in the Department of the Interior and succeeding departments, including nearly eight as chief of the Canadian Wildlife Service. He had taken a very active role in the expansion of the service, and the growth of its responsibilities from that of administering the Migratory Birds Convention Act to the provision of an investigational and advisory service covering a wide range of matters in the national parks and much of Canada north of the provinces. One of his post-retirement assignments was the compilation, under contract, of a history of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

New Wildlife Chief

Dr. Lewis' successor as chief of the Canadian Wildlife Service was W. Winston Mair. A native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Mair had received his primary and secondary education there, before enlisting in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1940. He served in several theatres of World War II in Europe, returning to Canada in 1946 when he was discharged with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1949 he graduated from the University of British Columbia, with a bachelor of arts degree. Post graduate work brought him a master's degree in zoology in 1952. Meanwhile he had obtained field experience with the Dominion Wildlife Service in 1949, and with the British Columbia Game Commission from 1949 to 1952. Before his appointment to the Canadian Wildlife Service, he had been a research officer at Fort Churchill with the Defence Research Board.

Other staff changes in the early fifties included the promotion of D.A. Munro to the position of chief ornithologist. J.P. Richards, assistant chief, retired from the public service in 1956, and was succeeded by Dr. V.E.F. Solman. In September, 1957, Dr. A.W.F. Banfield left the Canadian Wildlife Service to join the National Museum of Canada as chief zoologist.

Service Evaluated

Late in 1956, Winston Mair requested by memorandum to the director, J.R. B. Coleman, that a committee be appointed by the National Research Council to review the operations of the Canadian Wildlife Service. As proposed, the review would consider the position the Wildlife Service should occupy in the field of wildlife research and make recommendations for future objectives. The committee also would be called on to review the operations of the Wildlife Service in the arctic and subarctic regions of Canada and make recommendations for research objectives in these regions. Mair also recommended that the committee review past and present operations of the Canadian Wildlife Service with the object of providing a critical report on its scientific achievement, and make recommendations for the further development of high scientific standards.30

The request was approved, and in March, 1957, the review committee was appointed. It was headed by Dr. Ian MacTaggart Cowan, of the University of British Columbia, a man thoroughly conversant through past association with the activities of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Associated with him were Dr. T.W.M. Cameron of Macdonald College; Dr. W.H. Cook of the National Research Council; Dr. R. Miller of the University of Alberta and Dr. K.W. Neatby of the Department of Agriculture at Ottawa.

The report of the review committee was received in October 1957. It found the Canadian Wildlife Service to be well staffed and, within its operative framework, to be performing an important function. The report also recommended the enactment of a Canadian Wildlife Act, the establishment of the service as a branch of the department, and the continuation of its normal growth. It commented on the responsibilities of the service for research in both the national parks and in the Northwest Territories, and recommended the coordination of wildlife investigations and research in the Canadian arctic. The establishment of research sections in five separate sections of Canada, including the eastern and western arctic, also was suggested. A supplementary report, supplied on request, explained the reasons for a number of the committee's recommendations. Some, but not all of the proposals made were eventually adopted.

Advisory Board Abolished

The year 1957 saw the abolition of the Advisory Board on Wildlife Protection, an interdepartmental group that had been established by order in council in 1916. The board, of which from its inception had included an officer of the National Parks Branch, had a long record of useful service. It had been concerned with the drafting of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations; had helped to influence the creation of Point Pelee National Park; and had furnished advice in many fields of conservation for which the Department of the Interior and successive departments had been responsible. Almost throughout its life, the board had the services of the Chief of the Wildlife Division, and later of the Wildlife Service, as its secretary. Dr. H.F. Lewis observed in his history of the Canadian Wildlife Service: "It can be said that the Board did its work so well that it worked itself out of a job." When the board began to function in 1917, the Canadian public service contained very few persons having a thorough knowledge of the place of wildlife in the country. Consequently, the grouping of a small number of experts in their field had provided a readily accessible pool of knowledge and wisdom. By the 1950s, the task of conserving wildlife was divided among a number of Canadian government departments and agencies, and the advice of the board was no longer essential. Its work was brought to a close by Order in Council P.C. 1957-1199 of September 3, 1957.

Further Administrative Changes

In April, 1962, steps were taken to place under regional administration a number of the functions of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Eastern and western regions were created, with Dr. V.E.F. Solman appointed regional superintendent, eastern region, with headquarters in Ottawa. The western region was headed by Dr. W.E. Stevens, with an office at Edmonton. In 1963 the new setup became operational, and a number of the scientific staff were allocated to research and investigational work. Other supervisory personnel were retained on the head office establishment as staff specialists.

On November 3, 1963, W.W. Mair transferred to the National Parks Service as chief, replacing B.I.M. Strong who had been appointed regional director for western parks. Mair's successor in the Canadian Wildlife Service was David A. Munro, previously chief ornithologist. He was a son of James Munro, for many years Dominion wildlife officer for western Canada and later for British Columbia. David Munro had spent most of his career in the National Parks Wildlife Division and in the Dominion Wildlife Service, commencing in 1947 as a student assistant. He held a bachelor of arts degree from the University of British Columbia, and a master's degree and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Toronto. His scholastic career had been interrupted by service in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Later, he was among the first persons to be appointed a Dominion wildlife management officer in 1948.

Branch Status for Wildlife

Dr. Munro was chief of the Canadian Wildlife Service for a little more than two years when his division was elevated to the status of a branch of the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. This action arose from discussions at a meeting of the Canadian Council of Resource Ministers, the Federal-Provincial Wildlife Conference, and the Conference of Premiers in July, 1965. National concern for wildlife was expressed and a national policy and program were developed. These were tabled by the acting minister, Roger Teillet, in the House of Commons on April 6, 1966.31 At the same time the minister, Arthur Laing, announced that in recognition of the importance of the wildlife resources, the Canadian Wildlife Service would function in future as a branch.

The new national program provided for cooperative research and management with the provinces on common problems. It established guidelines and goals for federal research programs; and it emphasized the management of migratory birds and wildlife in Canada's national parks, in the Yukon Territory, and in the Northwest Territories. Adoption of the new policy not only broadened the responsibilities of the Canadian Wildlife Service, but set the stage for important new programs including the acquisition and preservation of large areas of public lands which comprised the habitat of migratory birds.

The new status of the Canadian Wildlife Service led to a reorganization and extension of its personnel. Dr. D.A. Munro became its Director, and Dr. John S. Tener its Deputy Director. The head office establishment at Ottawa provided for staff specialists in five divisions — Migratory Bird Habitat — Dr. V.E.F. Solman; Mammalogy, Dr. N.S. Novakowski; Limnology, J.P. Cuerrier; Migratory Bird Populations, Dr. F.G. Cooch; and ARDA, N.G. Perret. The regional offices continued to function under superintendents. That for western Canada was in charge of Dr. W.E. Stevens and that for eastern Canada was headed by Alan G. Loughrey.

New Director Appointed

In September, 1968, Dr. Munro left the Canadian Wildlife Service, with which he had been associated for 20 years. He accepted an appointment as director of community affairs in the Indian Affairs Program of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In August, 1969, Dr. Munro was appointed assistant deputy minister responsible for a new Indian Consultation and Negotiations Group of the department. Dr. John Tener succeeded Dr. Munro as director of the Canadian Wildlife Service in December, 1968. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, from which he held degrees of bachelor and master of arts, Dr. Tener subsequently attended Oxford University. He received his doctorate from the University of British Columbia in 1960. His service in the Canadian Wildlife Service had extended over 19 years, during which he had served successively as a wildlife management officer, mammalogist for the Districts of Franklin and Keewatin, Northwest Territories, and as staff mammalogist at Ottawa.

Under New Ministry

A reorganization of Canadian Government departments in 1970 included the transfer of the Canadian Wildlife Service in November of that year to the Department of Fisheries and Forestry. In turn that department formed the nucleus of a new Department of the Environment which came into being on June 11, 1971, in accordance with the Government Organization Act of 1970.32 The Canadian Wildlife Service now formed a branch of the Lands, Forests and Wildlife Service of the new department. In January, 1973, additional reorganization brought the Canadian Wildlife Service within the Environmental Management Service. A.T. Davidson, the assistant deputy minister of that service, was transferred to a similar position in charge of the Parks Canada program in the Department of Northern Affairs and Northern Development; and thereupon Dr. J.S. Tener, then director general of the Canadian Wildlife Service, was appointed assistant deputy minister, Environmental Management Service.

Alan G. Loughrey followed John Tener as director general of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Loughrey was graduate of the University of Western Ontario from which he held degrees of bachelor and master of science in biology. He had joined the Canadian Wildlife Service in 1951 as biologist for the Canadian eastern arctic. Loughrey was involved in wildlife research over a six-year period with the walrus in the eastern arctic, barren-ground caribou in the Mackenzie and Keewatin Districts of the Northwest Territories, and various wildlife studies in the Arctic Islands. He served from 1957 to 1959 as predator control officer for the territories and later as head of the Northwest Territories Game Management Service in the Northern Administration Branch at Ottawa. In 1962, he returned to the Canadian Wildlife Service as supervisor of research for the eastern region. He became director of the eastern region in 1964, and in 1969 was appointed deputy director, Canadian Wildlife Service. He served as director of planning and coordination in 1973, and in 1974 was promoted to director general, Canadian Wildlife Service.

Wildlife Research and Development

The scope of this history does not permit a detailed account of the many biological research and management projects undertaken by the Canadian Wildlife Service following its establishment as a branch of the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. It is proposed, however, to provide brief descriptions of some of the more outstanding studies that were undertaken, as well as some of the more recent undertakings which were under way in 1972.

Barren-Ground Caribou

Following the disappearance of the buffalo or bison from Canada's western prairies, the barren-ground caribou constituted, in the opinion of many observers, the most abundant of the larger land mammals in Canada. As the buffalo once populated the North American west in millions, the caribou population at its peak has been estimated by competent zoologists to have numbered from 1,700,000 (Banfield) through 2,500,000 (Anderson) to 3,840,000 (Clarke).33 These figures were based on a winter range of 350,000 square miles. To the native population of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, the caribou were an almost inexhaustible source of food and clothing. Like the buffalo, they suffered greatly in numbers following the introduction of modern firearms among the native population.

The caribou migrated in great herds to open barren ground and seacoast in the spring, and in the autumn they returned southward to winter in regions that provided food and shelter in wooded terrain. A change in the choice of food by Eskimos may have contributed to the decline in the caribou population, as the natives switched from seal to caribou during the migration period in April and May. Spring killing accounted for many female animals about to give birth to offspring in June.

Federal government concern for the species reached a climax in February, 1947, when a resolution passed at the 11th Federal-Provincial Wildlife Conference recommended that a thorough investigation be made of the status and use of the barren-ground caribou between Hudson Bay and the Mackenzie River valley. Field work began in 1948 under the leadership of A.W.F. Banfield, then chief mammalogist of the Canadian Wildlife Service. His estimates of the caribou population, made after three field studies which covered aircraft flights of 12,000 miles, were so low that they were at first disbelieved. In 1949, John P. Kelsall, mammalogist for the districts of Franklin and Keewatin, took over the investigation. This was carried on intermittently until 1959.

The results of Kelsall's investigations and those of his associates were published in an exhaustive monograph, The Caribou, published in 1968 by the Canadian Wildlife Service. The report attributed the decline in numbers to one major factor — human kill. Much of this kill was beyond basic requirements. It was suggested that, with a population level of 200,000, the annual harvest of the caribou should not exceed 15,000. Banfield had estimated the caribou population in 1949 at 668,000. By 1958, however, it was only 200,000. The report closed on the assumption that the caribou numbers were on the increase, and in 1965 were estimated to be about 250,000.

An obstacle to the maintenance and increase of the caribou population is the fact that treaty Indians and Inuit are not subject to restrictive hunting legislation. Moreover, Indian hunters in spring prefer to take pregnant caribou cows, thus increasing the net losses of the species. Further study of the barren-ground caribou was undertaken by the Canadian Wildlife Service in April, 1966, in the Keewatin district of the Northwest Territories and in northern Manitoba, which it was hoped would provide data for management. During the next three years, five biologists participated in the study, which permitted the preparation of reports on population dynamics, range-carrying capacity, herd movements and further development of the management program. In 1967 the barren-ground caribou population in northern Canada was estimated at 350,000.34 In 1970 a second phase of caribou investigations was initiated to include caribou range studies on Southampton Island. They were completed in 1972.

Muskoxen in Canada

Another large mammal native to northern Canada which merited study by the Canadian Wildlife Service was the muskox. Covered with a heavy pelage, except for the legs and saddle, it bears a superficial resemblance to the North American bison. Its native habitat is found solely in arctic Canada and in Greenland, and portions of its range are shared with another large mammal, the caribou. The muskox is usually found in small herds widely scattered on the tundra or treeless plains of both the Canadian arctic mainland and the larger arctic islands, although it intrudes southerly into wooded areas south of the Arctic Circle. Unlike the caribou, however, it seldom migrates, as its abundant coat of thick hair helps it to withstand blizzards and cold. In winter it ekes out an existence on dried grasses, plants and shrubs that the winds lay bare.

Its possession of a large and valuable pelt made the muskox susceptible to hunting by Inuit, Indians and white traders to an extent that threatened its existence. Records maintained by the Hudson's Bay Company indicate that between 1888 and 1891, 5,408 hides were traded at company posts, the majority in the Mackenzie District of the Northwest Territories. After 1891, the number of skins brought to trading posts diminished. Between 1892 and 1900, about 1,800 sales of muskox skins were reported, and from 1901 to 1916, the total for Canada's northland was 2,125.

Eventually the decline in the numbers of the muskox, brought about by native hunters and white sportsmen, prompted strict conservation measures by the federal government. At the annual meeting of the Commission of Conservation held in Ottawa in January, 1916, Dr. C. Gordon Hewitt submitted a paper which strongly recommended legal steps to save the muskox from extermination. He proposed amendments to the Northwest Game Act of 1906 to protect caribou, wood bison and muskoxen, and absolute prohibition of the killing of muskoxen on Victoria, Banks and Melville Islands. In 1917 the Northwest Game Act was reconstituted and Dr. Hewitt's proposals were made law. Not only were those three arctic islands made permanent reserves for muskoxen, but future hunting and killing of the species was restricted to Indians, Inuit and Métis who were bona fide residents of the Northwest Territories, and then only when the meat was required to prevent starvation.35

Extended Study Undertaken

By 1950 a study of the muskox by the Canadian Wildlife Service had been decided on, and the task was entrusted to Dr. J.S. Tener. He carried out both summer and winter studies in the Canadian arctic in 1951 and 1952, and from 1955 to 1961. He received assistance from other mammalogists who furnished valuable observations. Dr. Tener's studies resulted in much interesting information about the muskox. At Lake Hazen in northern Ellesmere Island, temperatures below minus 50°F were recorded on 73 days during the winter of 1957-58. The growing season for plants is 40 days or less. The annual precipitation is light, being less than four inches on northern Ellesmere Island. Snowfall is light, and although it may form deep drifts in ravines, much of the snow is blown off extensive areas, leaving them with very light snow cover.

The study also established the Canadian muskox population to be nearly 10,000, of which 1,500 were on the northern mainland of Canada, and 8,390 on 11 of the larger arctic islands.36 The greatest concentrations were found on Bathurst, Melville, Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere Islands. The most southerly habitat in which the species was observed was that contained in the Thelon Game Sanctuary, about 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

Muskoxen mate in August, and calves are born chiefly in the latter part of April and in May. Muskox cows usually have a calf in alternate years. Twins rarely occur. Analysis of muskox milk has revealed it to be more nutritious than that of the bison. Its composition is comparable to that of a sheep's milk.

Dr. Tener's studies were published in a monograph entitled Muskoxen in Canada, published by the Canadian Wildlife Service in 1965. It contains descriptions of the environment of the muskox, the types of vegetation found on its ranges, the feeding habits of the species, its physiological characteristics, and the factors affecting its survival including predation, accidents, parasites, diseases, climate, and range suitable for its sustenance. Dr. Tener's report supports the belief that the numbers of muskoxen are increasing, particularly on the arctic islands. The report also endorsed a continuation of the existing ban on hunting muskoxen.

Bison Herd Problems

During his nine-year posting at Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, as resident biologist of the Canadian Wildlife Service, Dr. N.S. Novakowski made an intensive study of the bison in Wood Buffalo National Park from the standpoint of management. Special attention was devoted to the various grasses on which the bison graze, and to the grazing capacity of the ranges which are determined by the annual growth. The study also was extended to diseases and parasites found in bison. By 1960, the bison population of the park was believed to be about 10,000 and in addition, some 2,000 bison lived in the territories outside park boundaries.

The outbreak of anthrax, a highly infectious disease, among bison outside but in the vicinity of Wood Buffalo Park in 1962, resulted in additional problems for the park staff and the biologist, Dr. Novakowski. Public travel into the area was prohibited, and the carcasses of 287 dead bison were limed and buried. In following years, carcasses were incinerated and their ashes then buried. Additional outbreaks of anthrax in 1963 and 1964 farther south infected bison in the park, and vigorous steps were taken to control and eliminate the disease. During 1965 and 1966, more than 6,000 bison were vaccinated against anthrax. During this operation, no incidence of the disease was found; but in 1967 a further outbreak was discovered in the Lake One-Sweetgrass area of the park, which killed 118 animals. A disease-control program aimed at maladies such as tuberculosis and brucellosis was initiated in 1958, and one for anthrax in 1965. As since proved, these programs were very effective.

Historically, wood bison occupied a large area of western Canada, but with the advent of European man, their numbers and range declined. By the end of the 19th century, the wood bison population was estimated to be approximately 250, centred in an area later established as Wood Buffalo National Park. The sanctuary afforded by the park environment permitted an increase in the wood bison population which, by 1922, was believed to range from 1,500 to 2,000. The introduction of 6,673 plains bison from Wainwright, Alberta, between 1925 and 1928 resulted in the hybridization of the wood bison with the new arrivals, and unfortunately, the introduction of brucellosis and tuberculosis. By the 1940s, wood bison were believed to be almost extinct as a distinct subspecies, although some biologists believed that a small population might exist in the remote northern sections of Wood Buffalo Park. In 1958, a group of 200 animals was located in the Nyarling River area, and later identified by Canadian Wildlife Service biologists Novakowski and Banfield as wood bison.

In 1963, steps were taken to perpetuate the distinctive wood bison in areas other than Wood Buffalo Park. That year, 18 animals were removed from the park and introduced into an area northwest of Great Slave Lake now known as the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary. In 1965, another 23 animals were moved to Elk Island National Park, Alberta, and placed in an area segregated from the main herd of plains bison. Both herds have since increased through careful testing for disease, vaccination, and the culling of animals infected with or suspected of having disease. In 1978, the wood bison population of the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary was estimated at over 400, and the herd at Elk Island National Park at more than 150.

By 1979 both herds were strong and increasing in numbers. No limiting factors were foreseen other than overcrowding at Elk Island Park. However, that situation was being overcome by the reintroduction of the species into suitable wild areas, and the placement of surplus animals in zoos.


After the Wildlife Division of the National Parks Bureau became the Dominion Wildlife Service in 1947, an increase in staff permitted more intensive research in biology. During the late 1940s and the early 1950s, various studies involved pathology — for example, those concerning diseases in beaver and muskrat, caribou parasites and the occurrence of brucellosis and tuberculosis in the national bison herds. Although the studies were carried on by biologists in the Wildlife Service, other agencies cooperated in resolving management problems; among them were the Health of Animals Branch of the Department of Agriculture, and the veterinary services of both the federal and provincial governments.

Some of the parasites collected during these studies were submitted to and identified by Dr. L.P.E. Choquette of the Institute of Parasitology, Macdonald College, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec. In 1957, the Canadian Wildlife Service recruited as a staff member, Dr. H.C. Gibbs, to assist the 14 field researchers studying mortality in barren-ground caribou. Dr. Gibbs resigned in 1958, but in August, 1959, the department obtained the services of Dr. L.P.E. Choquette. Laboratory space was obtained for him in the department of biology, University of Ottawa.

Assistance for Dr. Choquette was obtained in 1961, when Dr. J.G. Cousineau was engaged, and a full-time technician, J.P. Couillard, was hired. In the five years from 1960 to 1965, the Pathology Section of the Wildlife Service carried on a wide variety of research. Subjects included diseases and parasites of the bison in national parks, parasites afflicting the arctic fox, the health of muskrat and reindeer in the Mackenzie delta area, and disease in game-fish stocks at the Jasper Park hatchery.37

Activity in the Pathology Section was intensified in 1962 when bison (buffalo) in the Hook Lake area of the Northwest Territories became infected with the dreaded disease anthrax. Vigorous steps to eliminate the disease, including vaccination, were begun in 1965 by officers of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Vaccination of buffalo was continued into the late 1960s. In 1968, only one death from anthrax was recorded in Wood Buffalo Park.

Postmortem and bacteriological examination of bison slaughtered in herd reduction programs at Wood Buffalo National Park, beginning in the early 1950s and through the 1960s, confirmed the prevalence of tuberculosis. Serological examination of blood samples collected during that period also showed the prevalence of brucellosis. During 1969 and 1970, no death of bison from anthrax was reported, but in 1971 another outbreak occurred at Hook Lake, Northwest Territories. In 1972, 5,538 bison were vaccinated against anthrax. No deaths attibutable to that disease were reported for that year. Since then, minor outbreaks have occurred, the latest in 1979. While vaccination is a component of the control program, it had not been carried out on a yearly basis as hitherto.

In 1969, the Pathology Section of the Canadian Wildlife Service moved to new and enlarged quarters on Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa. Here, a laboratory was maintained until 1976, when it was relocated on Gamelin Boulevard, Hull, in quarters formerly occupied by the Animal Pathology Division of the federal Department of Agriculture.

Ornithological Research

Problems associated with enforcement of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations led to a wide variety of ornithological research. Before 1937, J.A. Munro, Dominion wildlife officer for British Columbia, carried on a study of the American merganser, with special attention to food habits. The study, undertaken in collaboration with Dr. W.A. Clemens of the Pacific Biological Station of the Biological Board of Canada, extended over five years on British Columbia waters. The merganser, a predator upon all species of fish that can be captured in shallow water, was known to be fond of fish eggs, particularly those of salmon. During the autumn, American mergansers congregate on the salmon spawning streams and feed almost exclusively on fish eggs. Many of the embryos die, however, when the eggs remain uncovered in gravel beds, and the eggs may therefore be regarded as waste.

Salmonids were found in 74 of 363 merganser stomachs examined. However, freshwater sculpin is the item found most frequently in the food of the merganser. As the sculpin is a predator of young salmon, the merganser thus may assist the production of salmon by controlling the numbers of sculpin.

Later, in 1951, G.F. Boyer, wildlife management officer, studied merganser-salmon relationships on the Miramichi, one of the famous salmon streams of New Brunswick. At the same time, he made a study of merganser broods and summer populations of this bird.

The Murre Study

After 1949, when Newfoundland entered Confederation, the application of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations in the new province revealed evidence of exploitation of some of the large sea-diving birds, notably the murres. The Migratory Bird Treaty permitted the taking of several species of seabirds at any season by Eskimos (Inuit) and Indians for food, provided the birds taken were not sold or offered for sale. Otherwise, the murres, including both the common and thick-billed varieties, were protected as migratory non-game birds.

Leslie M. Tuck, the recently appointed Dominion wildlife officer for Newfoundland, was requested to carry out a study of the murres, extending over several years, and submit a comprehensive report of his findings. At the same time, he was instructed by the chief of the Canadian Wildlife Service that, in applying the provisions of the Migratory Birds regulations, he should practice toleration and understanding in dealing with the population of the new province, who had suddenly been exposed to legislation in whose preparation they had no part.

The problems attending suitable enforcement were discussed by Dr. Lewis with the chief of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and assurance was received that no official complaints from the United States would be made during the period of the study.

Mr. Tuck commenced his study in 1950, and for the next several years spent portions of each summer at murre colonies, as well as many days during the winter within sight of murres on their feeding grounds. His report, The Murres, was published by the Canadian Wildlife Service, Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources in 1961.38 The volume, well illustrated, describes the evolution of the murres, their distribution and population, breeding and biology, and the economic and ecological importance of the birds. In 1962, Tuck received the annual award of the Wildlife Society for the best report published in 1961 on original wildlife research.

The murres breed on rocky coasts, usually on cliffs that face the sea. The eastern coast of Newfoundland, Labrador, and islands in the polar basin support murre colonies. The colonies of the western Atlantic are found on the coasts of eastern Canada and western Greenland. Tuck estimated the population of thick-billed murres to be 10 million and common murres 1.25 million. The birds are also found in the North Pacific area including the Bering Sea. Murres live mainly on small fish, and around Newfoundland their diet in winter is largely capelin.

In his publication, Tuck called attention to the value of murres in fertilizing the surface waters of the sea. Seabird excrement is rich in nitrate and phosphates essential to the phytoplankton, the basic life of the sea. Replenishment of nutrients in the surface layers of the seas is essential to fisheries, and the murres may be considered fertilizer factories of the northern seas — although they are not the sole source of nutrients.

Temporary leniency in the enforcement of the Migratory Bird Regulations in Newfoundland, insofar as they related to murres, ended in January, 1958, when the regulations were amended.39 The amendment allowed residents of a rural area in the province to take murres in rural areas or in adjacent territorial waters, from September 1 to the following March 1, provided the birds were needed and taken only for human food. The sale or shipment of such birds was prohibited. Elsewhere, murres are protected by a closed season.

Whooping Cranes

A previous chapter referred to the discovery of the nesting area of the whooping crane, an exceptionally tall and imposing migratory bird which earlier in the present century was practically extinct. During a forest protection patrol over Wood Buffalo Park in 1954, the supervisor of forestry at Fort Smith, G.M. Wilson, observed from a helicopter two adult white birds and one young bird. The following day, the birds were identified as whooping cranes by Dr. W.A. Fuller, resident mammologist of the Canadian Wildlife Service at Fort Smith.

From the discovery of the first nesting site until 1956, Dr. Fuller undertook annual aerial surveys of the nesting areas. These surveys were largely concerned with counting the birds and determining breeding success and mortality. In 1957, Dr. N.S. Novakowski succeeded Dr. Fuller as resident mammalogist at Fort Smith, and continued the annual surveys until 1965. The results of these surveys were published in 1966 in a special Canadian Wildlife Service report compiled by Dr. Novakowski.40 The report revealed that from 1954 to 1965, a total of 40 whooping crane chicks were hatched in the Sass River nesting area, of which 32 survived. During the same period, the number of wild birds arriving each year at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas increased from 21 adults in 1954 to 36 adults and 8 young birds in 1965. By December, 1969, a record number of 56 wild birds had arrived at their winter ground in Texas.

In 1967, the Canadian Wildlife Service entered into a cooperative effort with the United States Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, to build up the population of the whooping crane. On July 2, 1967, biologist Ernie Kuyt of the Canadian service, accompanied by Dr. Ray Erickson of the United States bureau, flew from Fort Smith by helicopter to the nesting grounds near Sass River and obtained a single egg from one nest. Later, five more eggs were gathered and taken to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Centre in Maryland. Five of the eggs were hatched and four chicks survived. Gradually, a small flock of whooping cranes was built up at Patuxent from additional eggs flown from Wood Buffalo Park to the research centre. In August, 1970, the number of whooping cranes in North America, including captive birds, was estimated at 76. By August, 1979, the whooping crane population was believed to exceed 100.

Other Studies

Numerous other studies of migratory birds have been completed during the past two-and-a-half decades. Worthy of mention is that undertaken between 1951 and 1962 by Dr. Graham Cooch on the life history and ecology of the snow goose. He determined that the species included two races, one of which is the greater snow goose. The other race is divided into two colour phases, one known as the lesser snow and the other as the blue goose.

One indication of the population of these species resulted from a bird-banding operation carried out in 1960 under the supervision of Toma, an Inuk at Boas River on Southampton Island in Hudson Bay. Altogether, 5,000 blue and lesser snow geese were banded. In 1961, Toma and another Inuk, Kidlik, directed operations at East Bay and Boas River, Southampton Island, and at Eskimo Point on the mainland west of Hudson Bay. These activities resulted in the banding of nearly 13,000 blue and snow geese, 1,000 Canada geese, and 1,000 American brant. The following year, Dr. Louis Lemieux of the Canadian Wildlife Service, banded nearly 12,000 blue and lesser snow geese at Koukdjuak River, Baffin Island.41

Other studies completed over the years included those dealing with crop depredations by migratory birds in the prairie provinces; increased knowledge of certain species such as the bufflehead duck, and distribution and mortality of other species. Periodical surveys of waterfowl populations also were undertaken.


Details of early management and propagation of game fish in the western national parks have been described in the preceding chapter. Before the appointment in July, 1940 of Dr. H.M. Rogers as limnologist in the Wildlife Division of the National Parks Bureau, park administrators relied on the federal Department of Fisheries, the Biological Board of Canada, and private consultants for technical advice in the management of game fish and the operation of park fish hatcheries. As mentioned, for many years Dr. Donald Rawson of the University of Saskatchewan conducted studies of park waters, recommending suitable species of game fish for stocking purposes.

Dr. Rogers' services were cut off by his death overseas on war service. He was replaced in 1945 by Dr. Victor E.F. Solman, appointed as limnologist. For the next four years, Dr. Solman carried out or supervised studies of game fish populations throughout the national park system, including continuation of the creel census initiated in 1940 by Dr. Rogers. Through the cooperation of anglers, who completed records of their catches on cards made available for the purpose, helpful information on the success or failure in fish-stocking operations was obtained.

In June, 1949, the department obtained the services of Jean-Paul Cuerrier of Montreal as assistant limnologist. Meanwhile, Dr. V.E.F. Solman, park limnologist since 1945, had been appointed to the position of chief biologist. Consequently, in February, 1950, Cuerrier was promoted to chief limnologist. For the next 22 years he was responsible for the limnological program in Canada's national park system. Included were the stocking of barren waters with suitable species of game fish, the introduction of new species to national park lakes and streams, the removal of undesirable fish species from park waters, and the control of aquatic plants constituting a nuisance to anglers. Until 1971, when he was appointed to a new position in the Canadian Wildlife Service, Jean-Paul Cuerrier directed a small staff limnologists, undertook special studies and investigations, and provided technical advice on fishery management operations. During this period he published about 25 papers dealing with fishery operations and problems in the national parks.

By 1954 the annual field program included studies of fish hatchery operations and procedures, with special attention to water supply, rearing units and artificial diets for hatchery fish. In 1959 a new source of water for the Jasper Park hatchery was investigated. A suitable supply found near the hatchery made possible an increased production of trout for stocking purposes, and also the expansion of fish-rearing facilities.

The results of several years' observation of operations at three fish hatcheries in the western parks were incorporated in a final report prepared by chief limnologist Cuerrier, which recommended the concentration of future hatchery operations at the Jasper Park hatchery. The recommendations, which also included the closing of the Banff and Waterton Lakes hatcheries, was approved by the department in February, 1960. Details of subsequent hatchery operations are contained in a previous chapter.

Much of the work carried on by limnologists in the national parks involved fundamental research. For example, shallow fertile lakes in which organic substances break down have a high demand for oxygen. Where dissolved oxygen becomes deficient, winter kill of fish occurs. Success in restoring oxygen has been achieved by various means, including the use of outboard motors to churn up water in shallow areas. High mountain lakes are very cold throughout the year, saturated with oxygen during the open season. Many lakes, however, are deficient in nutrients for plankton which serves as fish food; they have no rooted vegetation, and dip steeply from the shoreline. Reports on various lake conditions enable limnologists to recommend steps which may increase fish populations.

Notable studies on the lakes of prairie parks were carried out by limnologist A.H. Kooyman. In 1960 he began an intensive study of pike and walleye populations in Prince Albert National Park. The program included the tagging of these species in Lake Waskesiu, one of the most popular lakes in the park, and later in the Kingsmere River. He also undertook the planting of walleye in Clear Lake, Riding Mountain National Park. Subsequent investigations supported the hope for good fishing in future for this species.

In 1966 limnologist R.S. Anderson began fundamental research in a large number of high altitude lakes in Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Parks. By 1969, a total of 150 lakes had been studied, including the reproductive rates of minute crustaceans eaten by fish.

Newly-established national parks normally are expected to provide suitable forms of recreation, among which angling holds a prominent position. In 1966 limnologist J.J. Kerekes of the Atlantic region undertook a survey of inland waters in Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland. This involved a study of the physical and chemical changes of lake waters throughout the year, the species of fish found in the park and the forms of fish food available.42 Completed in 1970, the study allowed an examination of brook trout, Atlantic salmon and arctic char. A preliminary study of lakes and streams in the vicinity of Bonne Bay, Newfoundland, also was initiated in 1966. The area later became Gros Morne National Park.

Additional surveys of waters and fish populations in the Atlantic national parks included those in Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, where an Atlantic salmon run was reestablished in 1966 after an old logging dam on the Upper Salmon (Alma) River disintegrated and was washed away. Attempts also were made to facilitate the passage of salmon up the Point Wolfe River from the Bay of Fundy.

Birds and Air Travel

The increased use of aircraft focused attention on the hazards created by flights of birds, particularly near airports. With the adoption of jet engines in larger, faster aircraft, bird strikes became more numerous and damage to equipment tended to increase. In 1959, the Canadian Wildlife Service was drawn into discussions with Trans-Canada Air Lines, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Department of Transport, with the object of alleviating a growing hazard to aviation.

In 1962 the National Research Council undertook at the request of the Department of Transport, the formation of an Associate Committee on Bird Hazards to Aircraft. An engineer of the Research Council, M.S. Kuhring, was named chairman of the committee, and the Canadian Wildlife Service was represented by its chief, Dr. D.A. Munro, and biologist R.D. Harris.43

The committee recommended changes in the environment on and near airports that would result in as little attraction as possible for birds. Biologists of the Canadian Wildlife Service were assigned to examine important airports in eastern Canada; consequently recommendations would be made for each of those sites.

Among the solutions or changes recommended were removal of garbage dumps from airports and their vicinity; removal of exposed surface water by the draining or filling of ponds and pools; and reducing plant growth on and around airports, limiting any crops to those unattractive to birds. It also was recommended that berry-bearing plants be removed; that trees and shrubs within 600 feet of runways be dispensed with; and that trees, poles and posts on airports that might serve as perches for birds be removed where possible. These recommendations were well received and were acted upon.

In cases where it was necessary to remove flocks of birds from runaways and other areas, noise was employed to clear the area. This involved the use of small explosive charges in pyrotechnic devices, and the playing, through loudspeakers, of the distress or fright calls of the species involved, as previously recorded on tapes. In 1963 radar was employed for the first time to observe the locations of large flocks of migratory birds, and flying operations were plotted accordingly.

Making Airports less Attractive

Various means were employed to make airports and runways less attractive to birds. The committee found that little could be done in terms of habitat manipulation to make a runway less attractive for loafing gulls. At Heathrow Airport in England, several gull strikes were experienced after extensive rains had brought worms to the ground surface adjoining the tarmac. After invading the runways, the worms not only attracted gulls but also impaired the braking efficiency of aircraft. Recommended solutions included killing worms by treating grass strips adjacent to paved areas with vermicides. Following mass invasions by earthworms, runways were cleaned promptly with sweepers.

Most airports have adjoining grassland strips, which provide an attractive background and prevent dust and dirt from blowing on to runways. Varying degrees of cutting grassed areas to make them less attractive to birds was found necessary. Gulls and plovers normally do not frequent long grass because it obstructs their view and interferes with movement. One the other hand, short grass does not attract ground nesters, nor does it hold large numbers of small animals and insects. It does, however, attract gulls and starlings. Consequently, the decision to keep grass either short or long in certain areas depends mainly on what species of birds are the principal hazard.

Studies revealed that the location of airports had much to do with the degree of bird hazard to aircraft in the vicinity. In the selection of sites for additional airports in the vicinity of Montreal and Toronto, the committee was formally requested to rate the proposed sites for birds hazards. The site recommended for an additional airport to serve Montreal — Mirabel — had a lower bird hazard potential than other sites considered.

The Canadian Wildlife Service was represented on Canada's Associate Committee on Bird Hazards to Aircraft during the 14 years of the committee's existence. In 1964 Dr. V.E.F. Solman succeeded Dr. D.A. Munro as senior representative of the Wildlife Service on the committee. He became its chairman in 1973, and served in that capacity until 1976. In 1969 the committee held a world conference on Bird Hazards to Aircraft at Kingston, Ontario, at which 22 countries were represented.

Dr. Solman assisted the government of Sweden in planning the design and construction of a new airport to serve the city of Malmo, and offered advice concerning the training of staff. In 1970 Dr. Solman introduced programs using radar and meteorological data to forecast areas and periods of high bird hazard in France, Denmark, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

The associate committee and its individual members produced more than 100 reports for world use. The information assembled over 14 years was condensed into a text book, Birds Hazards to Aircraft. This was prepared by committee member Hans Blokpoel, a wildlife biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa. The book was published by Clarke, Irwin and Co. Ltd. in 1976, just before the committee voted for its own dissolution, after having completed its work.44

Canada Land Inventory

Additional participation by the Canadian Wildlife Service in conservation activity was made possible by the passing of the Agricultural and Rural Development Act by Parliament in June, 1961.45 Known as ARDA, the act provided for cooperation through agreements between the federal Minister of Agriculture and provincial governments and agencies in developing marginal or submarginal agricultural lands. In effect, the intent was to improve farm income in depressed areas. Means to this end include the consolidation of uneconomical small farms, improved methods of cultivation and the abandonment of submarginal farms. The act also provided for financial contributions by the Minister of Agriculture to provincial governments and agencies.

Studies were made across Canada to locate farm areas with the smallest income levels so that work could be concentrated on them. Although it had been assumed that low-income areas existed in certain provinces, the study revealed that such areas existed right across the country. After the problem areas were located and mapped, it was then considered desirable to learn the causes of the low earnings and to recommend methods of improving the situation. As the data compiled were examined, it was found that low cash returns often resulted from attempts to farm lands not suited to the purpose. This demonstrated the need to look at the settled parts of Canada with regard to the land's capability to support various kinds of agriculture.

Before the agricultural capability studies were begun, it was decided that if capability was low where an established population was involved in agriculture, then other types of employment should be explored. If a decision was made to terminate agricultural use of land, it would then be possible to determine what other capabilities the land had. Alternative use of land could then include forestry, recreation, and the production of wildlife. Consequently, a multiple resource capability inventory was required.

Program Developed

The resultant program was known as the Canada Land Inventory. It was developed with the cooperation of the Canadian Wildlife Service, provincial agencies responsible for wildlife, and federal agencies concerned with forests, recreation and agriculture. It involved gathering, studying and presenting capability data for an area of about 1 million square miles principally in settled regions of southern Canada. The area is covered by 196 map sheets at a scale of 1:250,000. Techniques for assessing capability were developed at a number of meetings of federal and provincial specialists in the various categories involved. With regard to wildlife it was first assumed that one type of classification could be used. Later, after numerous meetings and discussions involving biologists from all provinces and the federal service, it was agreed that land capability for waterfowl and big game (chiefly ungulates or hoofed animals) should be analyzed and mapped separately. Those interested in recreation considered that although capability of land for most forms of recreation could be determined, an inventory of game fish capability was required. After much discussion, a technique was developed to evaluate the capability of an area to produce game fish.

The Canada Land Inventory program began in 1964. Up to 40 provincial and 17 federal government biologists and technicians were involved in the inventory of wildlife and game fish capability. Mapping was first done at a scale of 1:50,000 and then consolidated at a scale of 1:250,000.46 Maps in the agriculture, forestry, recreation, big game and waterfowl series are published in colour for sale to the public.

The data at 1:50,000 were collected primarily for detailed planning. They were inserted into a computer storage facility from which they can be extracted as needed. The computer program permits grouping of any data on present land use, and various kinds of social, political and economic data on the human population. The computer memory bank is of great value to planners engaged in reorganization, rural and urban planning, and socio-economic studies.

The Canadian Wildlife Service carried out the mapping of waterfowl capability in all provinces where that work was completed, with the exception of Prince Edward Island. There, through a special arrangement, the capability mapping was carried out by provincial officials. Because of special agreements with Newfoundland, there was no arrangement for a waterfowl inventory in that province in the Canada Land Inventory style. The Canadian Wildlife Service, in cooperation with provincial officials, carried on assessment of waterfowl production and capability in certain areas; the resulting data were to be available for general use, although not in the Canada Land Inventory style.

Several members of the Canadian Wildlife Service have been involved in the Canada Land Inventory as national and wildlife coordinators. They have included successively W.A. Benson, N.G. Perret and Dr. V.E.F. Solman. Dr. Solman served as national coordinator in wildlife on a part-time basis from 1968 to 1975. He then returned to the Canadian Wildlife Service on a full-time basis as Coordinator, Environmental Impact Assessment. Numerous other members of the Wildlife Service participated in the inventory; they included G.H. Watson who filled the position of regional coordinator in eastern Canada, and R. Jakimchuk and G.W. Staines in a similar capacity in western Canada.

Acquisition of Wetlands

Concern over the gradual diminution of wetlands in the southern areas of Canada, particularly on the western prairies, led the Canadian Wildlife Service to consider ways and means of preserving sufficient lands to maintain adequate populations of migratory waterfowl. About 70 percent of North America's most hunted species of migratory birds nest and raise their young in the ponds and potholes of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Eventually, in 1963, a four-year pilot program, involving two projects, was embarked on. Through one project, undertaken by Dr. W.D.J. Stephen, wetland conservation contracts were offered to owners of lands containing ponds and potholes, for periods of 10 or 20 years. Under terms of the contract, landowners would receive payment in return for their undertaking not to drain or fill their wetlands, or burn the surrounding marsh vegetation.

During 1963, 11 such contracts were signed, and the requisite payments made. During 1964, additional contracts were negotiated on the basis of quarter sections of 160 acres. On the average, about 75 percent of the landowners approached agreed to enter into contracts. Under another pilot project, instituted in the Atlantic provinces, the intention was to acquire freehold title to important wetlands. During 1966-67, areas around Sand Pond and John Lusby Marsh in Nova Scotia were purchased. In addition, title to 14,620 acres around the northern end of Last Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan was acquired.

By 1967 the pilot study had been completed, and that year a 10-year program was launched to preserve about 4 million acres of wetlands at an estimated annual cost of $5,000,000.

During the fiscal year 1967-68, agreements were concluded with about 3,700 land owners of 27,000 acres of wetlands. It was estimated that payments over a 10-year period would amount to $1,420,000. Early in 1968, a five-year agreement between the department and the Lower Kootenay Indian Band near Creston, British Columbia, ensured the protection of 3,300 acres of wetlands on the reserve. This area, on the Pacific flyway, was considered an important one. In 1968-69, an additional 32,000 acres were brought under the wetlands program, for which an expenditure of $1 million was expected. During 1969-70, an additional 32,000 acres were reserved as wetlands under agreement, bringing the total area thus preserved for migratory waterfowl to more than 70,000 acres.47

Meanwhile, substantial amounts were being expended for outright purchase of areas suitable for waterfowl preservation. A total of 18,853 acres of wetlands was acquired in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in 1967-68 at an average price of $63 per acre. In the fiscal year following, an additional area of 18,000 acres was purchased, while in 1969-70, a further acquisition of wetlands for national wildlife areas brought the total acreage under federal government ownership to 41,450. Used primarily as stopover places for birds during their migration, the areas acquired also were being improved to promote breeding of waterfowl.

During 1970-71, the Canadian Wildlife Service spent $853,000 in the purchase of 4,800 acres; in 1971-72, 3,419 acres were acquired, and in 1972-73 an additional 1,771 acres were obtained. By March 31, 1973, a total of 26 national wildlife areas had been created at a cost of about $6 million.48

Wildlife Interpretation

The Canadian Wildlife Service entered the field of conservation interpretation in 1967, to provide the public with information about wildlife in Canada outside national parks. R. Yorke Edwards, a British Columbia biologist, was recruited to develop a program whereby wildlife interpretation centres might be developed in each biotic region in Canada. In addition, smaller seasonal centres were contemplated to serve the public need at wildlife spectacles of national importance, such as Last Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan, the first large waterfowl refuge created in Canada. Major biotic regions originally involved in the plan included the Atlantic coast, Maritimes forest, hardwood forest, Canadian Shield, prairie wildlife, mountain forest, mountain tundra, Great Basin desert, Fraser delta and Pacific coast. As far as possible, it was planned to locate each centre within reasonable access to the Trans-Canada Highway. In 1976, biotic regions were renamed national regions and reduced in number to nine. Two years later, the concept was reviewed to incorporate seven wildlife regions: the Pacific, mountain, boreal, arctic, prairie, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence and Atlantic regions.

As proposed, each major wildlife centre would contain a building capable of housing exhibits, information centre and workshop, and have equipment for providing audio-visual slide programs. Close by outdoor exhibits, informative signs, nature trails, observation points and other inducements to use and enjoy the outdoors would be provided. An important feature of each centre would be an interpretation staff. The interpreters would develop and offer a daily program such as demonstrations, talks and conducted walks, all of which would permit personal communication.49

Interpretation Centres

The first wildlife interpretation centre was established in 1969 at the Wye Marsh near Midland, Ontario — about 90 miles north of Toronto. This is in the hardwood region of southern Ontario — a land of sugar maples, white pine, deer and beaver. Here visitors are introduced not only to the landscape, but to marsh life as well. A floating boardwalk extending into the marsh permits a close look at muskrat houses, aquatic plants, and Canada geese. Life below the water line is visible through an underwater window. Activities are directed from a building containing offices, workshops, an exhibit hall and theatre. During the visitor season, films or slides are shown hourly in the theatre. The character and extent of the marsh area can be determined by climbing the steps of an observation tower.50

A second wildlife interpretation centre was developed and opened at Percé, Quebec, in 1972. Located on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it was designed to tell the story of the interaction of land and sea along the Atlantic Coast. Nearby is Percé Rock, long a landmark in the region, which is accessible on foot over the sand at low tide. Bonaventure Island, a short trip by boat from Percé, is known for its seabird colonies. It includes the world's second largest gannet colony and uncountable numbers of puffins, murres and gulls.

Cap Tourmente Wildlife Interpretation Centre was opened in 1973. Situated on the St. Lawrence River about 30 miles east of Quebec City, it is noted for its concentrations of snow geese during their spring and autumn migrations to and from nesting grounds on the islands and mainland north of Hudson Bay. The spectacle of snow geese flocks of 200,000 is unforgettable.

Canada's midwestern wildlife habitat is exemplified on the Prairie Wildlife Interpretation centre near Webb, Saskatchewan, about 17 miles west of Swift Current. Opened in 1977, it lies within the grassland prairie region, replete with growths of sage and cacti, and also contains alkali sloughs. Migratory whistling swans rest on nearby Goose Lake in season.

Farther west in British Columbia is the Creston Wildlife Interpretation Centre, opened in 1974. Located near the town of Creston, the centre is representative of the Columbia biotic region. Forest growths on the mountain sides include the western red cedar, ponderosa pine and alpine fir. Large areas of wetlands in the valley incorporate marshes which draw thousands of migrating geese, ducks and whistling swans. The osprey also is found in large numbers in the area. Set on piles in the middle of a marsh, the interpretation building occupies a unique situation, and provides excellent views of the surrounding landscape.

Yorke Edwards served as chief of the Canadian Wildlife Service Interpretation Division from 1967 until the autumn of 1972, when he accepted an appointment as director of the British Columbia Museum in Victoria. He was succeeded in 1973 by William Barkley, officer in charge of the Wye Marsh Interpretation Centre. Barkley remained chief of the division until June, 1977, when he resigned to become assistant to Edwards in Victoria. Roy Webster, Barkley's assistant carried on as acting chief until James P. Foley of Parks Canada Interpretation Division was appointed chief in January, 1978.


Since its modest beginning as the Wildlife Division of the National Parks Branch in 1918, the Canadian Wildlife Service has established a remarkable record in initiating studies and projects for the conservation of numerous species of Canadian wildlife. It has assisted in the repopulation of numerous areas within and outside national parks with native species, has helped to rehabilitate birds and mammals in danger of extinction, and has, through remedial measures, helped eliminate diseases that threatened extirpation of wild animals essential to both the ecological and economic life of the nation. The Canadian Wildlife Service also has provided opportunities for the training of undergraduates and graduates of Canadian universities in various fields of biological science, where their research activities have provided very important contributions to existing knowledge of the fauna of Canada.


1 Taverner, P.A. Birds of Canada, King's Printer, Ottawa, 1934

2 Ibid.

3 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1962 edition

4 Order in Council P.C. 1181, June 8, 1887

5 8-9 Edward VII, Chap. 27, 1909

6 Hewitt, C. Gordon. The Conservation of the Wildlife of Canada. C. Scribners and Sons, N.Y., 1921, p. 267

7 Annual Report of the Commission of Conservation, 1914, p. 66

8 Ibid. (p. 214)

9 Order in Council P.C. 1537, June 29, 1916

10 7-8 George V., Chap. 18, 1917

11 Hewitt, p. 270

12 Order in Council P.C. 2231, December 28, 1916

13 Order in Council P.C. 871, April 23, 1918

14 Lewis, Harrison F. - Lively: A History of the Canadian Wildlife Service. (Unpublished manuscript, Department of the Environment, Ottawa, 1970)

15 Annual Report, Commissioner of Dominion Parks, 1919-20, p.16

16 Lewis, H.F.

17 Ibid.

18 Annual Report, Commissioner of Dominion Parks, I919-20, p. 17

19 Annual Report, Commissioner of Dominion Parks, 1920-21, p. 29

20 Order in Council P.C. 683, March 29, 1919

21 Report of National Conference on Conservation of Game, Fur-bearing Animals and other Wildlife. Commission of Conservation. Ottawa, 1919

22 Order in Council P.C. 2287, October 14, 1932

23 Lewis, H.F. p. 212

24 Order in Council P.C. 37/4433, November 1, 1947

25 Annual Report, Department of Mines and Resources, 1946-47, p. 110

26 Order in Council P.C. 81/99, December 1, 1950

27 Order in Council P.C. 84/5955, December 9, 1950

28 H.F. Lewis, p. 314

29 National Parks Branch file M.B.174-200 (Public Archives of Canada)

30 Lewis, H.F. p. 482

31 Hansard, April 6, 1966

32 Annual Report, Department of the Environment, 1972-73

33 Kelsall, J.P. The Migratory Barren-Ground Caribou of Canada. Canadian Wildlife Service, Queen's Printer, Ottawa, 1968

34 Annual Report, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa, 1967-68, p. 125

35 Hewitt, C. Gordon p. 100

36 Tener, J.S. Muskoxen in Canada. Canadian Wildlife Service, Queen's Printer, Ottawa, 1965, pp. 15-16

37 Lewis, H.F. p. 478

38 Tuck, Leslie M. The Murres, Their Distribution, Populations and Biology. Canadian Wildlife Service (King's Printer, Ottawa), 1961

39 Order in Council P.C. 1958-129, January 25, 1958

40 Novakowski, N.S. Whooping Crane Population Dynamics on the Nesting Grounds, Wood Buffalo National Park, N.W.T. Canadian Wildlife Service Report No. 1, 1966

41 Lewis, H.F. p. 334

42 Annual Report, Canadian Wildlife Service, Dept. of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1967-68, p. 138

43 Lewis, H.F. p. 375

44 Blokpoel, H. Bird Hazards to Aircraft. Clarke, Irwin and Co., Ltd; Canadian Wildlife Service, Canada, 1976

45 9-10 Elizabeth II, Chap. 11. Statutes of Canada, 1960-61

46 Solman, V.E.F. Canada's Inventory of Land - Wildlife Capabilities. Transactions of 38th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, 1973 (Washington, D.C.)

47 Annual Report, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa, 1969-70, p. 34

48 Annual Report, Department of the Environment, Ottawa, 1972-73, p. 26

49 Edwards, R.Y. The Plan to appreciate Canada. A Paper given to the Canadian Museums Association in Charlottetown. May 27, 1970. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa

50 Interpretation Program. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Ottawa, 1979

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