Mill town fears logging restriction to save caribou will kill the town
It’s a very tough decision for all involved. The provincial government in west coast British Columbia along with environmental groups and First Nations are very concerned about the declining numbers of caribou.
Wolves are being cited as a major impediment to caribou recovery and logging is helping the wolves.
Provincial officials say a wolf cull in the northern B.C interior is needed to reduce threats to the local caribou herd near Chetwynd north of Prince George. Added to that is the suggestion that logging must be curtailed in the area and that could threaten some 500 jobs in the industry town. Wolf culls themselves are also highly controversial eliciting challenges from animal rights groups.
In fact, due to the cost and complexity of a wolf cull, a limit to logging seems to be the preferred option.
When logging thins out an area moose can move in, and as a preferred prey, wolves follow, with movement also made easier along logging roads. Caribou are smaller than moose, and less able to defend themselves, and also not as fast as deer so less able to escape.
Last week the province organised a town meeting on the subject during which many expressed grave concerns that a limit on logging would shut down one or both of the mills in town, with a loss of hundreds of jobs. One person suggested that if that happened, the town itself would die.
At least one study shows waiting for forests to recover from resource development takes too long and killing wolves and moose is an effective way to improve survivability of caribou herds.
An ongoing wolf cull has been taking place since 2015 with 476 animals killed. A provincial caribou researcher said up to 100 wolves must be killed every year.
The province said no decision will be taken until all sides are heard from. Consultations will continue until May 3.
- CBC:Trumpener/Kurjata: 500 wolves or 500 jobs?
- Canadian Press (via PostMedia) B Weber: Mar 11/19 Killing wolves helps caribou
- CBC: J Page: Nov 23/18: Caribou stabilize when wolves culled
- CBC: H Bird: Feb 27/19: Wolf kill won’t save caribou
- Tyee: A MacLeod: Jan 16/15: Province says wolf cull needed
- Columbia Valley Pioneer: L Harrap: Dec 7/18: Petition to stop wolf cull