Wildlife Defence League condemns the government of British Columbia's recent decision to increase the number of wolves it will kill this winter, as part of it’s five year wolf cull plan to protect endangered caribou herds.
Culling wolves to save caribou is a scientifically flawed approach and, simply put, is an irresponsible biological experiment. The data elicted from the Alberta wolf cull proved that removing apex predators did nothing to recover the Little Smokey herd. Similar to the South Peace region, researchers found that rampant industrial development in Alberta led to the severe decline in caribou.
Wildlife Defence League is concerned that the government is choosing to gamble and kill wolves, rather than listen to the experts and take action to address the root causes for caribou decline - despite acknowledging them. Ministry of Environment documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Request, reveal the experimental nature of the cull and acknowledge that, "Ultimately, as long as the habitat conditions on and adjacent to caribou ranges remain heavily modified by industrial activities, it is unlikely that any self-sustaining caribou populations will be able to exist in the South Peace."
Meanwhile, the government touts its commitment to protect 400,000 hectares of habitat in the South Peace, failing to mention that it is only the high-elevation winter ranges of the endangered caribou that they have protected. Oil and gas, combined with hydroelectric projects, cutblocks, roads, seismic lines and open pit coal mines have seriously threatened the survivial of caribou herds in the region and continue to do so, including the proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, which would cut through caribou habitat.
The government's intention to scapegoat wolves while allowing industry to go unchecked has not gone unnoticed. Profit has and continues to be placed above the surival of wildlife and the health of ecoystems across the province - this must not continue.
Wildlife Defence League is calling on the province to halt the wolf cull immediately and take the necessary steps to establish fully-protected caribou habitat, beyond high-elevation winter ranges. We are also encouraging the public to contact Hon. Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations, to request a halt to the cull and for the government to undertake genuine caribou conservation measures.
HON. STEVE THOMSON - Minister of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations
PO BOX 9049 STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA BCV8W 9E2
Phone: 250 387-6240