Wolf Awareness is a non-profit Canadian organization dedicated to the conservation of wolves through research and public education about wolf ecology.

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BC EXPANDS WOLF KILLING PROGRAM UNDER GUISE OF CARIBOU RECOVERY

British Columbia has announced an expansion of the province’s misguided and inhumane wolf cull to the Revelstoke area.  Predator kill programs are ethically unacceptable, outdated & ineffective as a long-term solution. Critical caribou habitat is still being compromised by human use.  Read on to find contact information for decision makers and important points to consider about the mismanagement under way in beautiful British Columbia.

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Photo courtesy Peter A. Dettling© – TerraMagica

A government document titled “Next steps for Southern Mountain Caribou recovery in planning unit 3A – the Revelstoke Shuswap region “proposed to extend the provinces ongoing wolf cull to the Revelstoke-Shuswap 3A Planning region, under the guise of preventing the local extinction of threatened Southern Mountain (Woodland) caribou, despite not having adequate habitat protection in place; see letter from Valhalla Wilderness Society below.  The main methods used to kill wolves include aerial gunning and/or use of strangling snares, both considered inhumane for the prolonged suffering they cause.  More mountain lions, moose and deer will also be killed as part of this “caribou recovery plan”…. essentially killing an ecosystem from within.  Your help is needed NOW to ensure that BC’s misguided killing program is stopped; permanently

Contact decision makers listed further down to have your say.

A minimum of 288 wolves have been killed using these methods in the South Peace and South Selkirk caribou regions over the past 2 winters.  Admittedly inhumane, BC’s wolf killing experiment would not pass through an ethics review board in academia.  Read our article in the National Observer  titled BC government scientists admit wolf cull is inhumane, then propose to expand it; co-authored with Dr. Paul Paquet, senior science advisor for the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

“By remaining silent, we allow others to prevail” – Martin Luther King.

Share our 2017 ACTION ALERT about Western Canada’s War on Wolves…CLICK HERE.

1606-WA-be-my-voice

Twenty conservation and animal welfare organizations from across North America were outraged by the news opposing the cull because caribou habitat has not been adequately protected and in the words of the BC government,  “forest harvesting still occurs in the critical habitat of [these] Southern Mountain Caribou”  Furthermore, lethal removal of apex predators damages ecological integrity and the killing methods violate the Canadian Council on Animal Care standards, with research showing that aerial gunning and snaring cause distress and agony.  Read media coverage and our collaborative media release.

The whittled down amount of habitat preserved in this planning unit was never and could never be expected to preserve caribou.  Learn more about these details through the Valhalla Wilderness Society, who has written the following letter to government: http://community.netidea.com/wildernesswatchwww.vws.org.   Recommendations  to protect 34,000 hectares of caribou habitat made by government scientists in 2007 have not been fulfilled in the Revelstoke – Shuswap area; see pg. 29 for these recommendations in The BC Species at Risk Coordination Office’s Draft Mountain Caribou Recovery Strategy: Analysis of Habitat Options for Forest Industry Stakeholders.   Despite these recommendations, a meagre 10,000 hectares were protected.  Until 2011, when an amendment was made to allow timber companies to log a minimum of 6,000 hectares of old growth forests to compensate for what they had lost to protection of caribou in 2007.  These details can be found within the Forest Practices Board Report on a biodiversity amendment made to the Revelstoke timber supply area. What remains could be an island of extinction.

This information came shortly after the recent announcement by the Alberta government to continue culling wolves in Little Smoky caribou habitat, where 95% of the herd’s range has been disturbed by resource extraction.  There was also an admission from the Alberta government that poison toxicants are STILL being used in caribou recovery areas.

Decision Makers Responsible:  Contact the following decision makers responsible for wolf conservation and management to join the dialogue.  Outlined below are some of the issues that have raised our hackles.  If these concerns resonate with you, please help spread awareness.

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Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change – Catherin McKenna: ec.ministre-minister.ec@canada.ca

cc. Stephen Hureau – Species at Risk Special Projects – Environment and Climate Change Canada Email: stephen.hureau@canada.ca

British Columbia

click HERE to locate your MLA

The Honourable Doug Donaldson Minister of ForestsLands and Natural Resource Operations  Email: FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca

The Honourable George Heyman Minister of Environment Email: ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca

The Honourable Premier John Horgan Email: Premier@gov.bc.ca

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver Email: andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

Alberta

click HERE to find your MLA

The Honourable Rachel Notley, Premier
Phone: 780 427-2251
Email: Premier@gov.ab.ca

The Honourable Shannon Phillips
Minister of Environment and Parks
Phone: 780 427-2391
E-mail: aep.minister@gov.ab.ca

Deputy Minister Bill Werry
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Phone: 780 427-1799
Email: bill.werry@gov.ab.ca

Travis Ripley
Executive Director Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch Environment and Parks
Phone: 780 427-7763
E-mail: travis.ripley@gov.ab.ca

Sue Cotterill, Section Head
Species at Risk, Non-Game and Wildlife Disease Policy Environment and Parks
Phone: 780 422-9535
E-mail: sue.cotterill@gov.ab.ca

Contacting your local MLA and asking them to raise the issue at the provincial level is one of the best ways to provoke change. Consider including your local editor and/or other newspapers too.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  1. Wolves are emotional and intelligent beings whose predation on caribou is facilitated by habitat destruction.
  2. The decision to kill more wolves is scientifically unsound. All evidence to date shows that killing wolves does not reduce predator numbers for more than a season since their behaviour allows populations to rebound quickly and fill in the vacant space created where resident wolves have been killed. 
  3. Wolves are a keystone species, capable of causing trophic cascades.  Wolves increase biodiversity and facilitate large-scale processes in wilderness ecosystems. There are major ecological repercussions when wolves are hunted.  Ripple effects throughout the ecosystem are detrimental to the behaviour and diversity of many other species and natural processes. Watch this video How Wolves Shape Rivers to learn more about the critical ecological roles of wolves as a keystone species.
  4. Aerial shooting and neck killing snares are not an approved method of wildlife euthanasia under Canada’s current guidelines on Approved Animal Care.
  5. Critical caribou habitat is still being used and impoverished by industrial and recreational activities.  Wolves are being scapegoated.

BACKGROUND:

Wolves in Canada are running out of places to hide. Since 2005 in Alberta, more than 1,000 wolves have been killed
under the guise of protecting Alberta’s Little Smokey Caribou herd in habitat 95% disturbed by oil and gas infrastructure. Wolves were killed in strangling snares, gunned down from helicopters and poisoned using elk and moose killed and laced with strychnine. Indiscriminate weapons, snares killed 676 other animals, including 2 caribou. There is no way to estimate how many non-target animals died of strychnine poisoning.  Watch this film about Alberta’s conservation dilemma in “Cry Wolf, An Unethical Oil Film” by DeSmogBlog.

British Columbia announced plans to begin aerial gunning wolves in 2015, following suit from Alberta’s misguided lead. The plan is to continue the wolf killing program for a minimum of 5 years in the South Selkirk and South Peace areas.  Approximately 700 wolves are targeted for death when all is said and done.  The first two winters saw a minimum of 288 wolves killed in this program.

2015-2016: 288 wolves killed in BC’s South Peace region under the guise of caribou conservation

In both provinces, wolves are chased by helicopters until they are exhausted, and then shot… who knows how many times… A sad reality is that caribou are in this situation because of us, not because of wolves. The provinces have knowingly allowed industry to destroy caribou habitat for 50 years. Activities such as energy development, logging, mining and high-impact recreation continue in critical caribou habitat. As a consequence of our neglect, the government has sanctioned the killing of one species to save another.

This is also a question of animal welfare. The morality of causing harm to hundreds of intelligent and sensitive animals for any reason should be questioned.  Are we prepared to spend the next several decades shooting wolves from helicopters in a vain attempt to maintain small herds of caribou in degraded habitat?  Many areas that have been protected for caribou, (such as in the South Selkirk region in BC and the Little Smoky Range in Alberta), are not only small, but they are isolated. Small, isolated populations of caribou will likely be wiped out by disease outbreak, natural disasters or hard winters whether or not every wolf family in the area is scapegoated and killed. Read this article co-authored by Wolf Awareness and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation titledAlberta Must Call a Truce on Wolves“.


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For now, and for the generations after us.

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These caribou recovery plans are not built on an understanding of wolf ecology nor conservation ethics. Instead, an apparent pre-determined agenda which encourages killing wolves has been exposed in both western Canadian provinces. In addition to opposing the destruction of wolves in a last ditch effort to save caribou, we stress the importance of instituting effective conservation measures to preserve old-growth habitat critical to the survival of caribou. To win this battle, industrial encroachment must be halted and habitat allowed to regenerate.

Check out these important and timely articles recently published in scientific journals:

  1. Maintaining ethical standards during conservation crises
  2. Witnessing extinction
  3. Killing 890 wolves to learn about them: something’s wrong
  4. The original “experiment” that killed so many Albertan animals can be read HERE.

And media coverage: “Ecologists Oppose BC Wolf Cull.”


We the public deserve to be informed on how our tax dollars are being spent, to what end, and for how long.  We deserve to know how the country’s iconic wildlife and wild places are being cared for.  Wildlife and wild places are part of a public trust.