When the government of British Columbia first announced its wolf kill program nearly five years ago, many were concerned the misguided tactic would become the new norm in addressing species decline. Five years later, those concerns are becoming a reality, as news of a proposed expansion to the predator cull program has come to light.
An August 22nd memo from the B.C. Caribou Recovery Program outlines plans to initiate a wolf cull program for the Tweedsmuir-Entiako, Hart Ranges, and Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herds starting this winter. In addition, the government plans to also kill cougars in the Itcha-Ilgachuz herd area.
The plan indicates that more than 80 per cent of the wolf population in these areas will be killed, with the government’s preferred method involving a combination of radio collaring and aerial shooting from helicopter. WDL has previously raised serious concerns over the use of radio collars in the kill program, which are used to track down entire packs, and the tactic of aerial gunning which fails to meet the ethical guidelines set by the Canadian Council on Animal Care, as it is not considered an acceptable form of euthanasia.
It’s also concerning to see aerial gunning described in the memo as “the favoured method as it is considered the most effective and humane method to thoroughly reduce wolf populations.” Yet, a previous report on the matter written by two science advisors for the provincial government admit aerial gunning is inhumane.
The reality is that many wolves killed by aerial gunning die a slow and painful death. Furthermore, the cull program increasingly scapegoats predators while failing to address the root cause of caribou decline across the province, which is the continued destruction and fragmentation of caribou habitat through industrial and high-impact recreational activity.
The screenshots below indicate recent logging within core critical habitat of the Tweedsmuir-Entiako and Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herds. The continued destruction of caribou habitat is incompatible with saving the species. Killing predators conveys an illusion of action, but its a misguided and unethical tactic that has been used by the provincial government to avoid intervention by the federal government under the Species At Risk Act and to allow industrial activity to continue.
Join us in calling on Premier John Horgan, Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and Darcy Peel, Director of BC’s Caribou Recovery Program, to end the scapegoating of wolves and other predators and to issue a moratorium on logging and other forms of industrial activity within federally-mapped, core critical habitat of endangered mountain caribou until a genuine conservation plan is in place.
Contact information for the Premier and the Minister are listed below.
Premier John Horgan - Premier@gov.bc.ca
Minister Doug Donaldson - FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Darcy Peel - Director, BC Caribou Recovery Program