Save B.C. 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. The B.C. Wolf Management Plan needs an overhaul, starting with the unscientific, costly, and inhumane wolf cull program.
The Sea Wolves
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 unfounded beliefs about impacts to cattle ranchers, is mainly focused on wolf control. In 2010, approximately 1,400 wolves were reported killed - the highest mortality rate since 1976 and 12-26% of all wolves in the province based on the government’s estimated population numbers. 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.
(Read more about sea wolves in the October 2015 edition of National Geographic.)
B.C.’s Wolf Cull Program
Between January and April of 2015, government contractors killed 84 wolves from helicopters in southeast B.C. The cull was ordered to protect two populations of mountain caribou that are close to local extinction. Further government communications revealed that, unless we stop it, the winter cull will continue for at least 5 years, potentially killing thousands of wolves at a taxpayer cost of $2.1 million.
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.
The federal Boreal Woodland Caribou Recovery Strategy (released in 2008) clearly states that predator management should be used as a last resort to save caribou populations, after habitat protection and restoration. No other predators of mountain caribou are being targeted.
Reasons to oppose the wolf cull program
The wolf cull is a disastrous management experiment with 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 adult female or calf survival rates.
Without adequate habitat protection and restoration, mountain caribou populations are still likely to decline. 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.
To learn more about B.C. wolves, click here.
January 19, 2018: Public comment period deadline. Let the Fish and Wildlife Branch know you oppose the NDP government proposal to lengthen the wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island.
March 26, 2017: Public comment period deadline. Last day to submit public comment on Protection Study for Southern Mountain Caribou (Central Group) in BC, intended to inform provincial and federal decision-making with respect to the ongoing protection and recovery of southern mountain caribou populations and their critical habitat.
February 24, 2017: Governments of Canada and of British Columbia conclude study on protection of southern mountain caribou. Read the news here.
January 20, 2017: BC government admits culling of wolves is inhumane, yet still considers cull expansion. Read the news here.
August 24, 2016: More critical habitat destruction in the South Peace allowed by the NEB. Read the news here.
May 16, 2016: Province admits there is not enough intact habitat left for endangered caribou herds in the South Peace: affidavit
From the press release: The submission, which included several other official documents as evidence, reveals the responsible Ministers were fully aware of the impact of habitat destruction on caribou herds for decades, yet continued to permit industrial development. Read more here.
May 16, 2016: Legal case exposes B.C. government’s wilful negligence of duty to protect wildlife, ecosystems
In an affidavit submitted to the B.C. Supreme Court, the government of British Columbia admits it allowed industrial development to destroy and fragment so much mountain caribou habitat in the South Peace region that caribou can no longer survive as they did for thousands of years. Read our blog for more background on the legal case.
May 4, 2016: 163 wolves killed during 2016 wolf cull; 73 wolves were killed in 2015 in South Peace. Article by Mike Carter for the Dawson Creek Mirror.
May 3, 2016: Wolf kill numbers nearly double in 2016
Year two of five of the B.C. government’s tax-payer-funded wolf kill project is now complete, with the government announcing today their aerial snipers virtually doubled the body count. Read our blog post.
February 1, 2016: BC government delivers flawed consultation amidst moves to increase trophy hunting in 2016
Ignoring the fact that 95% of British Columbians oppose any kind of trophy hunt, the B.C. government quietly released a number of proposals for public input in early December 2015 that, if passed, would significantly escalate the trophy hunt of bears and wolves. The public input process for these proposals was fraught with technical glitches, but thousands of citizens persevered to register their oppostion. Read more here.
January 20, 2016: Courts asked to rule on B.C.'s controversial wolf cull
Pacific Wild and Valhalla Wilderness Society have filed an application for a judicial review to determine whether the provincial government’s decision to cull wolves reasonably constitutes proper management of wolves. Click here for more information.
December 23, 2015: Wildlife culling named one of top 3 news stories of 2015
Pacific Wild’s work engaging the media paid off big time this year, with public, academic, and celebrity outrage over the B.C. government's treatment of our wildlife one of the top 3 stories in B.C. news in 2015. Here’s hoping in 2016 the government can be persuaded to listen to the countless individuals, media outlets, and organizations trying to get through to them.
December 15, 2015: 95% of British Columbians oppose trophy hunting of all kinds
Polling figures released by Insights West show 95% of British Columbian's oppose "sport" (i.e., trophy hunting) of any kind. Click here to see the results for yourself.
December 10, 2015: Government quietly releases plans to escalate wolf hunt
While everyone was busy gearing up for the holiday season, the B.C. government was at it again, ramping up the "#waronwildlife" and hoping people wouldn't notice. The timing of the public input period was clearly designed to ensure that few people would actually be able to make their voice heard, but advocates for B.C.'s wildlife persevered, and thanks to the attention we raised - regarding both the proposals and technical issues with the site - the BC government has announced an extension of the public comment period on Friday, January 9. Read the Global News article here.
October 25, 2015: Province is preparing for cull's second year
News report reveals government anticipates 2016 cull will be more "successful" than last year. Click here for the article.
October 25, 2015: Environmental groups pen open letter
Briefing notes prepared for meetings between B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak and industry representatives in 2014 suggest the government was prompted by the forest industry to launch the wolf cull because of fears a federal recovery plan for caribou would demand more logging areas be set aside. Click here to read about the FOI or click here to see the full document.
September 30, 2015: Environmental groups pen open letter
Ten environmental groups, representing thousands of British Columbians, have sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark, objecting to the fact that her government is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to kill wolves and pen pregnant mountain caribou, while forests critical to the survival of the caribou, and many other species, continue to be destroyed or fragmented by industry. Click here to read the press release.
September 18, 2015: Leader of the federal Green Party of Canada calls for end to wolf cull
Leader of the federal Green Party of Canada took to Change.org to express her support for the Save BC Wolves petition and call for more effective measures to protect B.C. caribou.
September 17, 2015: Pamela Anderson also endorses the campaign
On the heels of Ms. Cyrus' endorsement, Pamela Anderson, a long-time animal rights activist published an open letter to the premier encouraging the B.C. government to reconsider the wolf cull program. She specifically invited the premier to meet with her, but comments by the premier since suggest that is unlikely to occur.
September 8, 2015: Miley Cyrus endorses the campaign
Miley Cyrus spontaneously encouraged her followers on Instagram to join the fight to Save B.C. Wolves. Ms. Cyrus' supporters crashed our website, but once we had it up and running again they helped us close in on our petition goal of 200,000.
July 7, 2015: Message from Pacific Wild
With just over 8,000 signatures to go, we have almost reached an incredible goal of 200,000 signatures on the #SaveBCwolves petition. By signing you are voicing your opposition to this highly controversial and unethical wolf hunt in British Columbia!
May 11, 2015: Press Release
Eight environmental groups - Valhalla Wilderness Society, Pacific Wild, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Wilderness Committee, Wildlife Defence League, The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, Wolf Awareness Inc., and Bears Matter - applaud a recently published scientific report that reveals how much habitat the caribou in the South Peace region have lost. The title of the report says it all: ‘Witnessing Extinction - Cumulative impacts across landscapes and the future loss of an evolutionarily significant unit of woodland caribou in Canada’ (Johnson et al., 2015).
March 5, 2015: #SaveBCWolves ads hit the streets in Vancouver
#SaveBCwolves ads continue to hit the streets of Vancouver. Public opposition builds but wolves continue to be killed by B.C. government’s barbaric cull program. Has your voice been heard? If you see an ad on the street - take a photo, post it with the location and tag us @pacificwild. Spread the word and get the world involved in opposing the wolf cull.
February 25, 2015: Open Letter to B.C. Government
Over 60 Canadian and International Signatories Voice Opposition to the B.C. Wolf Kill in open letter to Premier Clark.
January 27, 2015: Update from Ian McAllister
Since the surprise announcement that the Canadian province of British Columbia was beginning an immediate aerial kill program that would leave over 180 wild wolves dead by hunters in helicopters, the international condemnation has been significant. Thousands of letters and emails have been sent and Ministry phone lines have been ringing off the hook from people expressing their outrage... read more.
January 15, 2015: Press Release
Decades of habitat destruction and human encroachment have left BC’s mountain caribou on the edge of survival. Instead of protecting critical food and habitat for caribou, such as the lichen rich interior forests, the BC government has now placed the blame on wolves. Over 180 wolves are now being targeted for aerial killing in the next two months. These highly social and intelligent animals, icons of our natural heritage, should not be killed because of government negligence. Killing all the wolves in BC won’t bring the caribou back in the absence of habitat protection.