Save BC Wolves
Wolves are still legally persecuted throughout B.C. There are no protected areas set aside for wolves to fulfill their roles as apex predators in healthy, functional ecosystems, or to live out their lives as highly intelligent, social animals. B.C. and Alberta’s wolf cull program is arguably the most ecologically, economically, and ethically offensive element of government’s approach to wolf management. Our current goal is to stop the wolf cull from happening again this winter and to resist ongoing efforts to escalate the persecution of wolves across the province. Together we can stop this kill program and get wolves the protection and respect they deserve as top predators.
Help Stop the Wolf Cull
British Columbia’s 2007 Mountain Caribou Recovery Plan failed dismally to halt the decline of southern mountain caribou. After seven years of recovery efforts between 2007 and 2014, the Interior Wet Belt in southern B.C. had lost 500 caribou, leaving approximately 1,200 individuals in 15 herds. This equates to approximately 17% of the historical, provincial abundance of southern mountain caribou. In an attempt to save the endangered caribou, the B.C. government launched a multi-year wolf kill program in the South Peace and South Selkirk regions in January of 2015, against the recommendations of independent scientists.
The government’s decision to scapegoat wolves represents a failure to protect and restore the habitat required by mountain caribou: old-growth forest that has been fragmented and destroyed by industrial logging, oil and gas exploration and recreational snowmobiling. Over decades, these impacts have left many populations of woodland caribou in serious decline, without the habitat they need for their specialized diets and protection from predators. B.C. continues to approve logging cut blocks in endangered caribou habitat and continues to entertain discussions about building open-pit coal mines in critical habitat within several Central Mountain ranges, where every single herd is in decline.
Ministry officials estimate the wolf cull program will kill nearly 500 wolves and cost taxpayers approximately $2.2 million. The province plans to evaluate the wolf cull after four years: the revised B.C. government kill program is planned to be released in the Spring of 2019.
Eradicating wolves will not change industries responsibility and the governments complicity in the loss of species. They are still ignoring the main drivers of caribou decline. These herds were pushed to the brink of extinction not because of wolves, but due to continued destruction and fragmentation of their habitat by logging, resource extraction and motorized recreation.
Reasons To Oppose The Wolf Cull Program
- The wolf cull is a disastrous management experiment. There is no scientific evidence to support its methods or intended outcomes. A report on a 10-year cull program in Alberta that killed 733 wolves, cited by B.C. officials in support of the cull, actually showed that the cull had no effect on the survival of adult female caribou or calves.
- Without adequate habitat protection and restoration, mountain caribou populations are likely to keep declining. Very small populations of these specialized animals may no longer be viable and are susceptible to being wiped out by many things besides wolves, such as disease or forest fires.
- Shooting wolves from helicopters is an inhumane method of euthanasia. Many of these wolves will be wounded and left to die in the snow. There is no public oversight of the killing operation. B.C. is one of only two Canadian provinces that has not adopted the Canadian Council on Animal Care standards that guide the welfare and humane treatment of wild and domestic animals.
- The wolf cull is hypocritical: although there is much scientific evidence showing the beneficial effects of wolves on ecosystems, there are no recovery plans for wolves in regions of B.C. where they face local extirpation. In areas where they are beginning to make a comeback from historical eradication, they are still legally hunted and trapped.
THE SEA WOLVES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Wolves in the Great Bear Rainforest are different; they are genetically distinct from inland grey wolves. The population carries more genetic diversity because it has never been through a population bottleneck, the term used to describe the severe depletion of a population followed by a resurgence in numbers originating from only a few individuals. Rainforest wolves inhabit all environments along the mainland coast and adjacent islands, but not the offshore archipelago of Haida Gwaii. They live almost exclusively on deer and what the ocean provides, including salmon, herring roe and even seals and sea lions.
In B.C., all wolves are subject to the provincial government’s Wolf Management Plan, updated and released in April, 2014. The plan does not appropriately address the societal, ecological and economic roles that only healthy populations of wild wolves can fulfill. Instead, the plan, based on faulty estimates of population growth and potentially biased beliefs about impacts to cattle ranchers, is mainly focused on wolf control. In 2010, approximately 1,400 wolves were reported killed – 12-26% of the estimated number of wolves in the province, and the highest mortality rate since 1976.. Under the management plan, it is legal to hunt wolves without any special license in most regions of the Great Bear Rainforest ten and a half months out of the year; in Tweedsmuir Park it is legal seven months out of the year.
Here’s how you can get involved:
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