The B.C. government says it plans to kill almost 200 grey wolves this winter in the beginning of a five year programme.
Photo Credit: Chris Corday/CBC

Controversy growing over western Canada wolf cull

Share

Some research professors in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan are arguing against the western wolf cull currently being carried out by the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

In a paper published online this week, they say the killing of wolves from helicopters and through poisoning, is unethical.

The authors also criticize the Canadian Journal of Zoology for publishing the Alberta government’s position.

Governments in the western provinces have promoted wolf culls as the solution to save dwindling caribou herds.

null
Both woodland and mountain caribou herds are in serious decline in Alberta and British Columbia. Governments are blaming wolves, while environmentalists say wolves are being used as a scapegoat, for habitat loss from industrial development. © CBC

University of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Bioresources professor Ryan Brook, says culling predators is not the best way to save the caribou.  Quoted in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, he says, “This isn’t about wolves. This is about human development- oil and gas development, forestry. You look at lands used by woodland caribou in Alberta and ask how much of that is being saved? Well, not a whole lot.”

The Star Phoenix story adds that several other animals, ravens, and foxes for example, have also been killed from eating the poisoned wolf bait.

An Alberta government biologist says there’s no other way to keep wolf numbers low enough to help caribou.  Dave Hervieux, woodland caribou specialists, says stopping the cull would doom the herds and he makes no apology for using the information it generated to gauge how successful it has been.

Hervieux says they have killed about 900 wolves so far in the past eight years.  That research showed that killing wolves has stabilized caribou numbers, but barely.

In British Columbia’s effort to save mountain caribou, the Assistant Deputy Minister Tom Ethier said this year’s plan to kill 180-200 wolves in the Rockies is just the beginning.

He says they will continue for the next five years and then assess results.

null
Critics of the cull say human activitie, logging roads, resource exploration, and recreational activities like snowmobiling, has made it easier for wolves to go into the highere areas where mountain caribou are, which they have not typically hunted. © Wildlife Infometrics)

Mountain caribou, a subspecies which has become adapted to life in the mountains, are especially threatened with the individual herd numbers dropping dramatically in the past few years.  The Selkirk herd in five years has gone from 46 animals to 18, while further north in the Peace region, the Moberly herd went from 190 animals two decades ago, to just 22 today.

Mountain caribou are not typically hunted by wolves. BC conservationists say opening up areas to development, and human activities such as snowmobiling and ATV traffic which breaks trails into the higher elevations, makes it easier for wolves to travel up the to where the mountain caribou are.

null
One caribou herd in the B.C. Peace region has gone from 190 animals in the 1990s to 22 © Wildlife Infometrics

The BC government says wolves are responsible for up to 40 percent of caribou deaths and has also now said 90 percent of the mountain caribou habitat in the Peace district will now be protected from development. It says recreationaly activity like snowmobiling will also be banned in some areas and any industrial projects will be planned with caribou recovery in mind.

Back in Alberta, Carolyn Campbell of the Albera Wilderness Association told CBC reporter Chris Brown, that the provincial government was killing wolves but not protecting habitat as initially planned. Original supporters of the cull, the association therefore withdrew its support.

Campbell said, “This was a completely unethical approach, To only scapegoat wolves…they’re the symptom, not the cause, and do nothing about the habitat.”

Share
Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Economy, Environment

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “Controversy growing over western Canada wolf cull
  1. Natalie says:

    Leave the wolves and other wildlife alone. God created all these creatures. Who the hell are we to decide who lives and who dies. If you are so concerned for the caribou take them in and breed them. No animal should have to die because of their way of life. Hunters go out and kill poor defenceless animals everyday. Its not up to us to decide who dies. Leave wildlife to take care of itself. Its not our place to determine what happens if you’re worried about caribou population, breed them!!!! Every creature on this planet deserves it’s right. Every animal out there is impirtant to the ecosystem. If its not to provide food, leave it alone!!!!!