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Wild Animal Law of Canada
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Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act (Newfoundland)

(current to 01 May 2016)
Note Re Application of the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act ('WERA')
The Wilderness Ecological Reserves Provincial Parks Act (WERA) of Newfoundland and Labrador applies to wilderness reserves and ecological Reserves established by the provincial Cabinet. They are listed here: Newfoundland and Labrador Wilderness and Ecological Reserves.
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Newfoundland statute website.

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Table of Contents
1. General
2. Wilderness Reserves
(a) Establishment and Purposes
(b) Prohibited Activities
3. Ecological Reserves
(a) Establishment and Purposes
(b) Prohibited Activities - General
(c) Seabird Ecological Reserves
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1. General

While wilderness reserves (as opposed to ecological reserves) are (arguably) primarily game preserves, several animal-related provisions are contained with the WERA and it's main regulations, the Wilderness Reserve Regulations, 1997 (WR Regs) and the Seabird Ecological Reserve Regulations, 2015 (SER Regs).


2. Wilderness Reserves

(a) Establishment and Purposes

Wilderness Reserves can be established in areas of "no or little human activity", and their purposes include [WERA s.4]:
  • to provide for the continued existence of those areas as large wilderness areas to which people may come and in which they may hunt, fish, travel and otherwise experience and appreciate a natural environment;

  • to allow within those areas undisturbed interactions of living things and their environment;

  • to preserve those large areas that may be necessary for the continued survival of a particular species; or

  • to protect areas with primitive or extraordinary characteristics.
The Minister may carry out measures and programs in a wilderness reserve for the preservation and protection of the reserve, biological or physical research and otherwise [WERA s.20].

(b) Prohibited Activities

Subject to extensive exemptions authorized in the Regulations (usually requiring issuance of a permit), prohibited activities within wilderness reserves include [WERA 24(1,2),25, WR Regs s.3,7-10,12-13]:
  • construct a structure or reconstruct or add to a structure or build a road, path or track;

  • engage in the cutting or logging of trees, agriculture, mining, prospecting or claims staking;

  • within or outside a wilderness reserve alter the course of or amount of flow of water so as to affect that course or amount;

  • use of motorized vehicles or equipment;

  • landing of aircraft; and

  • spraying programs against insect infestation, unless Minister-approved;

  • pollution or obstruction of a stream or other body of water or disposal of any garbage;

  • building or erection structures;

  • destruction, damaging, removal, disturbance or handling the home, den or nest of wildlife;

  • destroy, damage, remove, disturb or handle an egg of any wild bird;

  • possession of a firearm (includes bows) unless the firearm is securely wrapped and tied;

  • destroy, damage or remove wildlife, fossil material and any natural object;

  • destroy, damage or remove a sign, or other government property;

  • remove sand, stone or gravel;

  • use, operate or be in possession of a motor car, motor truck, four-wheel drive vehicle registered or required to be registered under the Highway Traffic Act, except upon existing roads within the Avalon Wilderness Reserve;

  • use, operate or be in possession of an off-road vehicle;

  • operate a commercial establishment or commercial enterprise, except guiding, touring and outfitting;

  • operate or be in possession of an outboard motor;

  • bring a domesticated animal into a reserve;

  • entering the reserve with a dog or horse unless it is kept under control at all times.

3. Ecological Reserves

(a) Establishment and Purposes

Ecological Reserves can be established in "areas of the province that contain a representative or unique ecosystem, species or natural phenomena", and their purposes are [WERA s.5]:
  • to provide for scientific research and educational purposes in aspects of the natural environment;

  • to preserve the habitat of an animal or plant species that is rare or endangered;

  • to provide standards against which the effects of development in other areas may be measured;

  • to provide an opportunity for study of the recovery of ecosystems from the effects of modification by human beings;

  • to preserve rare botanical, zoological, geological or geographical characteristics;

  • to preserve representatives of distinct ecosystems in the province; and

  • to preserve organisms in their natural habitat to ensure the preservation of their gene pools.
The Minister may carry out measures and programs in an ecological reserve for the preservation and protection of the reserve, biological or physical research and otherwise [WERA s.20].

(b) Prohibited Activities - General

Subject to extensive exemptions set out in the WERA Regulations, prohibited activities within ecological reserves include [WERA 24(1,3),25]:
  • construct a structure or reconstruct or add to a structure or build a road, path or track, or

  • engage in the cutting or logging of trees, agriculture, mining, prospecting or claims staking; or

  • within or outside an ecological reserve alter the course of or amount of flow of water so as to affect that course or amount.

  • fishing;

  • hunting, trapping, netting or snaring of animals;

  • use of motorized vehicles or equipment;

  • landing of aircraft;

  • spraying programs against insect infestation, unless Minister-approved;

  • removing, destroying or impairing a plant or animal; and

  • introducing a plant or animal species.
(c) Seabird Ecological Reserves

The only ecological reserve Regulations that bear directly on wildlife are the 'Seabird Ecological Reserve Regulations, 2015' 32/15 ('SER Regs').

Subject to extensive exemptions (noted below, and typically authorized by a permit issued under SER Reg s.5), persons shall not, within a Seabird Ecological Reserve, do any of the following [SER Regs, s.3]:
  • pollute or obstruct a stream or other body of water;

  • dispose of garbage;

  • introduce a plant or animal species, or any other organism;

  • build or erect or cause to have built or erected a structure;

  • hunt, remove or disturb wildlife;

    For these purposes, 'hunt' "means to chase, pursue, worry, follow after or on the trail of, lie in wait for, or attempt to capture, kill, injure, or harass wildlife whether or not that wildlife is subsequently captured, killed or injured" [SER Regs s.2(f)].

  • destroy, damage, remove, disturb or handle the home, den or nest of wildlife;

  • be in possession of a firearm (includes bows) unless the firearm is securely wrapped and tied;

  • destroy, damage, remove, displace or handle the egg of any wild bird;

  • destroy, damage, remove or displace any wildlife, fossil or other natural object;

  • remove or displace soil, sand, stone or gravel;

  • prospect, claim stake, mine or quarry;

  • post, destroy, damage, remove or displace a sign or other government property;

  • use, operate or be in possession of a motorized vehicle;

  • light or maintain a fire, open or contained in boats, except contained fires which are permitted in ships travelling through the marine portion of a reserve;

  • erect or maintain a camp, or otherwise carry on any camping activity;

  • apply any chemical to a reserve;

  • operate or be in possession of a personal watercraft within a reserve;

    For these purposes, 'personal watercraft' "means jet-skis, sea-doos, wave-runners and the like but excludes ordinary motorized boats, kayaks and canoes" [SER Regs s.2(l)]. Some reserves are subject to specific 'distance from' boating restrictions as set out in the SER Regs s.12. Commercial fishing appears to be captured (and prohibited, subject to exceptions) by the 'commercial enterprise' provision, next below.

  • use a bicycle;

  • operate a commercial establishment or commercial enterprise within a reserve, except guiding, touring, outfitting, photography, videography or sound recording, in accordance with a permit issued under these regulations;

  • operate a non-commercial establishment or non-commercial enterprise within a reserve, except guiding, touring, outfitting, photography, videography or sound recording, in accordance with a permit issued under these regulations; and

  • display, post or broadcast an advertisement.

  • bringing dogs into the reserve [SER Regs 14(1)].
Exceptions exist to allow one or more of the above activities, as will typically be specified in a permit, and they include ones for:
  • persons engaged in the "administration or management of a reserve in the normal course of his or her duties" [SER Reg s.4];

  • scientific research [SER Regs s.6,7];

  • educational activities [SER Regs s.8];

  • "commercial or non-commercial enterprise(s) for touring, guiding, outfitting, photography, videography or sound recording" [SER Regs s.9];

  • commercial and recreational fishing in the marine waters the the reserve if permitted under other applicable legislation [see the permit requirements of the federal Fisheries Act][SER Reg s.11];

  • operation of a boat or vessel [SER Regs s.12];

  • dogs in the reserve [SER Regs 14(2)].



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