Census reveals South Selkirk Mountain Caribou herd on brink of extinction

 Photo: Jim Lawrence / Kootenay Reflections Photography 

Photo: Jim Lawrence / Kootenay Reflections Photography 

Conservationists are devastated by news that a recent census of the endangered South Selkirk mountain caribou herd found that only three females remain. This is down from 11 animals last year. 

While this news is tragic, it isn't a surprise. For decades the logging industry has knowingly decimated critical caribou habitat. Their activities removed an important food source (lichen) and made access (via forest service roads) much easier, especially for predators. In 2014, the BC Liberals announced a wolf cull program, which they claimed would help protect caribou. We knew then and we know now that the cull was simply a way of scapegoating predators while industry continued, business as usual. In fact, it was the forestry industry that suggested the wolf cull in the first place, in hopes that it would avoid a federal caribou recovery plan that would set aside more habitat for protection. To date, approximately 30 wolves have been slaughtered in the South Selkirks alone.

Despite warnings from independent scientists, First Nations and concerned citizens, the provincial government continues to prioritize profit over the protection of endangered species. In recent years, snowmobiling further disturbed mountain caribou in the South Selkirks. During the winter of 2016, snowmobile tracks were observed within a kilometre of the endangered herd. Noise pollution interrupts important winter feeding and sled tracks create easy access for predators. 

We're on track to lose the remaining southern mountain caribou herds, whose total population numbers dropped from 4,500 last year to 3,800 this year. Join us in calling on both the provincial and federal government to take immediate action to stop the logging of old-growth forests, to restore and reconnect habitat and to take concrete, effective steps in preventing disturbance from recreational activity, including snowmobiling and heli-skiing in critical caribou habitat. 

EMAIL DECISION-MAKERS:

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Hon. Doug Donaldson - doug.donaldson.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Hon. George Heyman - george.heyman.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Catherine McKenna - Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca

BC Government Seeks Feedback On Extended Wolf Trapping Season

  Photo: Ian McAllister/Pacific Wild

Photo: Ian McAllister/Pacific Wild

The provincial government has proposed lengthening the wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island by an additional 51 days, in an ill-informed attempt to protect deer populations.

They are seeking public feedback on the proposal, with a deadline of Friday, Jan.19th, 2018 for submissions.

WDL is opposed to this proposal to lengthen the wolf trapping season - see our submission below for more information. 

Please take a moment to advocate for wolves by submitting feedback on this proposal before the Friday deadline. Feel free to use our submission below as a guideline, but be sure to personalize your letter.

Register a BCeID "basic account"on the government's Angling, Hunting and Trapping Engagement Website (AHTE) and from there you can then submit a comment on the proposal.

You can also send your comments directly to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, Doug Donaldson - FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca


Feedback on Reg. # 2018-1-10 to lengthen wolf trapping season

Please accept this submission as part of the consultation for the proposal to lengthen the wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island. 

We strongly oppose this proposal for a number of reasons - it is based on anecdotal reports that wolf numbers seem to be increasing, but there is no recent reliable, science-based population count of wolves on the island (the last population estimate is from 1994), nor any measurable data to suggest the population is in fact increasing. Even if wolf populations are confirmed scientifically to have increased, that alone does not justify lengthening the trapping season. Similarly, there is no reliable evidence to suggest that any decline in ungulates is necessarily due to wolf populations - any decline in ungulates must be researched in-depth.

We also oppose lengthening the trapping season due to the increased risk of non-target species being caught in these traps, not to mention the safety issues facing the public and domestic animals.

The provincial government has stated that they will be moving forward with a broader consultation process for a renewed wildlife management strategy for the province in 2018, but this one-off policy fails to align with the government’s acknowledgements that a renewed strategy is needed. Instead, it seems more in-line with the previous government’s tendency to scapegoat predators. In addition, the lack of reliable, measurable data surrounding this proposal is incredibly worrisome and dangerous. 

For these reasons, we are calling on the provincial government to reject this proposal to lengthen the wolf trapping season and instead move forward with the process of updating the province's wildlife management strategy so that it is science-based, conservation-focused and aligned with the values of the vast majority of British Columbians.