Commentary by Tommy Knowles
In April, the British Columbian government released its management plan for the grey wolf. The plan drastically outlines a government out of step with ecology and in step with industry.
The executive summary states that the grey wolf is a threat to livestock. It then goes on to state that one goal of the management plan is to ensure wolves are available in sufficient abundance to meet the recreational needs of society, before ending with the provincial policy that supports the use of predator control to protect livestock and species at risk.
Predation on livestock is very much exaggerated in the plan and does not hold farmers accountable for poorly practiced farming methods that attract wolves, including proper disposal of dead cows. Farmers have a social responsibility to work in harmony with the land base but instead demonize the wolf, which has lived sustainably on that land for generations. This demonization then somehow justifies the wolf’s extermination and outlines a total misunderstanding of the species. The underlying tone of the summary portrays the wolf as an animal that should be managed for the benefit of and to suit human beings.
In a section titled, ‘Recent Management,’ the document discusses the attempt to control wolves to reduce predation risk on endangered caribou. Wolves were killed and dominant pairs sterilized yet a correlation between reduced wolf densities and caribou recovery could not be sustained. It is well known among the broader scientific community and among independent biologists that the real reason endangered caribou are declining is because of habitat loss, due to practices including logging, mining and tar sands extraction. Unfortunately for the wolves, the government significantly benefits from these industries. Therefore, the wolves are a scapegoat for corporate profit and are unfairly blamed for the loss in caribou.
In regards to hunting, the British Columbian government sets no limit on how many wolves can legally be killed by a single hunter or what age a wolf can legally be killed at. This means that hunters can kill pregnant females, mothers with cubs, cubs themselves or any wolf they so choose. The reporting of wolves killed is poorly managed and hardly gives a proper estimation of wolves throughout the province yet is one of the determining factors in population estimates.
The reintroduction of wolves to wild places where they once roamed, such as Yellowstone National Park, has seen a significant increase in the overall health of the ecosystem, as species once completely out of balance are set and balanced by a predator-prey relationship. This is hardly recognized by the plan.
It is not surprising that the government of British Columbia continues to let down the wolf and works closer and closer to exterminating the animal from the province. Christy Clark and her gang of so-called biologists are quickly shaming the reputation of a place once known for its respect of the environment.
It is obvious that petitions and letter writing have hardly stopped or even slowed down the destruction of the wolf. We must therefore take action in order to ensure the survival of this magnificent species. Respect existence or expect resistance!