Environmental group takes B.C. government to court over legality of controversial wolf cull

For immediate release
Victoria, B.C. July 22, 2020

Pacific Wild Alliance is heading for the courts to fight the B.C. government’s controversial wolf cull that has resulted in more than 1000 wolves being killed over the last five years. 

This legal filing comes on the heels of a new study published in the Journal of Biology and Conservation which found the government-sponsored kill program has had no detectable effect on reversing the decline of endangered caribou populations. 

“Hundreds of wolves are being killed each year in the most horrific fashion, at tax-payer expense. It’s disheartening to learn that on top of our legal counsel finding grounds to prove this program is likely unlawful under B.C. law, there’s also now confirmation from a renowned academic publication that culling is having no positive impact for caribou recovery,” said Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild’s Executive Director. “We’re fully prepared to challenge the B.C. government in court on this matter.”

Since 2015, the B.C. government has spent millions of dollars to eliminate wolves from large parts of the province of B.C. through trapping and aerial snipers. 

“Using civilian contractors to actively engage in aerial hunting from helicopters violates the Wildlife Act,” said Rebeka Breder, a B.C. lawyer with Breder Law representing Pacific Wild. “Because the government is sanctioning such activities, they are actively engaged in the unlawful killing of wolves and we are calling on the courts to put a stop to this.”

“Additionally, the wolf cull is unconstitutional. As outlined under federal aviation security regulations, it’s completely unlawful to have a loaded firearm and discharge said firearm from an aircraft for the purposes of an aerial cull,” Breder elaborated. “As such, Pacific Wild is arguing that the B.C. government has no authority to allow civilians to conduct such actions and it is asking the court to put an immediate stop to it.”

Background

The wolf cull program takes place in two parts. First, alpha males are chased with a helicopter and shot with a net gun. Once netted, these pack leaders are fitted with a radio collar. They are then tracked until they betray the location of their pack and other pack members, giving these particular wolves the nickname “judas wolf”. Second, once a judas wolf reveals a pack’s location, civilian aerial snipers are sent in via helicopter to shoot as many wolves as possible from the air. Additionally, on-the-ground den raiding activities are also routine practice, raising further concerns about civilian hunters killing wolf puppies and mothers. 

About Pacific Wild

Pacific Wild is a wilderness and wildlife protection organization that conducts research, public education, and community outreach on wildlife and habitat conservation issues in British Columbia. One of its main campaigns is to raise public awareness of the importance wolves play in British Columbia’s ecosystem, and to protect wolves in the province.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Voutour, Communications, Pacific Wild: 902-809-9030, [email protected] 

Ian McAllister, Executive Director, Pacific Wild: 250-882-7246, [email protected] 

Rebeka Breder, Lawyer, Breder Law: 604-449-0213, [email protected]