Original photo credit: Colleen Gara Photography
September 20, 2019
Honourable Doug Donaldson
Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
PO Box 9049 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
Dear Minister Donaldson,
We, the undersigned concerned scientist, conservation and animal protection organizations are calling on the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to open public consultations regarding the recently announced predator reduction program under the British Columbia Caribou Recovery Program. The program, which has apparently been approved for two years, would focus on the Tweedsmuir-Entiako, Hart Ranges, and Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herds commencing in the winter of 2019/2020.
As organizations collectively representing tens of thousands of supporters and constituents, we are outraged that this program intends to remove 80% of wolf populations in the regions in question, as outlined in the leaked memo entitled “Predator Reduction for Caribou Recovery”. It is both alarming and unacceptable that this proposal stems from a government-funded study, which lacked any form of independent ethics review approvals or certificates. The data models in this study were highly misinterpreted, and regardless, the study confirmed that habitat loss—not wolves—was the ultimate threat to caribou. Removing critical habitat, circumventing ethics review procedures, and scapegoating wolves in the process flies in the face of ethical science.
At the expense of B.C. taxpayers, the B.C. government continues to blame wolves for declining caribou herds while at the same time green-lighting hundreds of clear-cut logging and industrial operations within critical caribou habitat. Killing hundreds of wolves through aerial hunting, while failing to protect adequate habitat for threatened and endangered southern mountain caribou herds, is nonsensical and unjustifiable.
It is equally alarming to learn that your Ministry is holding secretive, closed-door meetings with private stakeholders to decide the fate of the province’s wolves and ecosystems. We urge you to act with transparency and accountability in making such critical and impactful decisions. We call on the Ministry to immediately take steps to engage with all stakeholders and extend and open these consultations to the public.
We look forward to a timely response to our concerns, as the lives of hundreds of animals are at stake.
Humane Society International/Canada
Paul C. Paquet, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography
University of Victoria
Director, Animal Alliance of Canada
Leader, Animal Protection Party of Canada
Wildlife Defence League
Conservation and Policy Campaigner
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals
Valhalla Wilderness Society