Participate in BC's wildlife and habitat consultation

 Photo credit: Sam Edmonds 

Photo credit: Sam Edmonds 

The BC government wants to hear your thoughts about wildlife and habitat conservation throughout the province. 

Please join us in participating in this public consultation, as the feedback will be used to help form government policies and programs. The deadline for submissions is today (July 31st, 4pm)! Send your comments via email in a Word or PDF document to WildlifeAndHabitat@gov.bc.ca.

Below are the main themes we’ve raised in our consultation submission. Feel free to use them as a guide for your own submission, but please remember to use your own words as identical comments will only be accepted as one submission. 

  • Meaningful and lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and the implementation of the UNDRIP should be central to government policies and programs.
  • A broader range of stakeholders must be involved in wildlife management and habitat conservation decisions. To date this has largely taken place behind closed doors and with select parties, but moving forward it must be open, transparent and more inclusive. 
  • A new wildlife and habitat conservation strategy should move past the current model, which relies heavily on the outdated and hunter-centric North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. A renewed strategy should be science-based, as well as ecologically and ethically-informed.
  • The government must work proactively to protect wildlife and habitat in order to prevent wildlife from becoming a species at risk. Proactive measures should include:
    • Ending the practice of old-growth logging and open-net fish farming
    • Deactivating and restoring unused forest service roads and addressing overall road density and habitat connectivity
    • Transitioning away from unsustainable resource extraction projects and embracing more sustainable alternatives
    • Implementing a compassionate conservation model of wildlife management and species at risk legislation
    • Ending the practice of predator culling, which fails to address the root causes of species decline and is not supported by science or public sentiment.
  • Wildlife and habitat protections must be a government priority, not an after-thought. Projects should be evaluated at the ecosystem level in order to truly see the cumulative impact of all projects in any given area.
  • Priorities for reducing wildlife-human conflicts should include increased public education, stronger enforcement and increased fines for problematic behaviour. 

Thank you for helping advocate for a renewed strategy to protect BC wildlife and habitat!

 

Provincial Government Seeks Public Comment On New Caribou Recovery Plan

 Photo: Jim Lawrence/Kootenay Reflections Photography

Photo: Jim Lawrence/Kootenay Reflections Photography

Caribou have been in decline across British Columbia for decades, primarily due to habitat destruction and fragmentation as a result of industrial development. Meanwhile, the provincial and federal governments have dragged their feet on taking meaningful action to recover this endangered species. Instead, they've allowed development to continue and have done little to protect and restore caribou habitat, instead relying heavily on a wolf cull program. 

The BC NDP has announced a new plan aimed at recovering dwindling caribou herds and they are looking for public feedback. Please share your comments on the Draft Caribou Recovery Program before the June 15th deadline! 

There are two ways you can submit your comments - On the government's consultation website (see instructions on the site) or by emailing your thoughts to caribou.recovery@gov.bc.ca .

See our submission letter below for key messages - Please be sure to customize your own personal message. Do not copy and paste our letter below, as duplicate submissions will not be accepted by the government.


"Dear Ministers Heyman and Donaldson, 

I am writing in response to the discussion paper for the Provincial Caribou Recovery Program. I ask that you take meaningful, science-based and ethically-informed action to protect mountain caribou in British Columbia and end the culling of wolves. The evidence is clear that the decline in caribou populations throughout BC is primarily driven by habitat destruction and fragmentation.

For decades, industrial development, including logging, mining, oil and gas and the building of roads and other infrastructure has decimated critical caribou habitat. In recent years, the recreational industry (heli-skiing, snowmobiling) has added further disturbance to this sensitive species. 

The 2007 Mountain Caribou Recovery Plan failed to protect adequate habitat and restrict access by the recreational industry, which resulted in wasted tax-payer dollars  and continued decline of endangered caribou herds. 

It’s been over a decade since the first caribou recovery plan, but herds have continued to decline in the face of government inaction. We cannot afford to continue talking about how to save caribou, we need concrete action and we need it now. 

Culling wolves to save caribou is a scientifically flawed approach and, simply put, is an irresponsible biological experiment. Recent data from the South Selkirk suggests in the four years since culling began, the mountain caribou herd in the area declined from 18 animals to just three, despite approximately 30 wolves being killed. Alberta’s wolf cull program serves as proof that culling one species to save another is ineffective. Since 2005, more than 1,200 wolves have been killed under the guise of protecting Alberta’s Little Smokey Caribou herd, with no evidence of herd recovery. 

Aerial gunning of wolves fails to comply with ethical guidelines set by the Canadian Council on Animal Care, as it is not considered an acceptable form of euthanasia. Research shows that many wolves killed by aerial gunning and neck snaring die a slow and excruciatingly painful death.

I am asking you to end the wolf cull immediately and focus on recovery efforts that address the root cause of caribou decline - habitat destruction and fragmentation. Such efforts must include:

  • Complete habitat protection (all seasonal ranges).
  • Moratorium on any further degradation of caribou habitat, including industrial activity (logging, mining, oil and gas), road-building, and recreational tenures.
  • Deactivate and restore forest service roads, trails, seismic lines, etc. that are no longer in use in caribou habitat.
  • Restoration of disturbed habitat.
  • Monitor/enforce closures and protections in caribou habitat

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the provincial caribou recovery program."