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

Help END predator kill programs

BC Public Engagement Period ENDS June 15, 2018.

SPEAK for wolves, caribou, and ECOSYSTEMS today!

Predator kill programs are ethically unacceptable, outdated, and ineffective as a long-term solution to caribou declines. As you read this, caribou habitat is still being destroyed. It’s time to abandon wolf killing programs and preserve intact ecological systems.

Until June 15th, BC is accepting comments on proposed caribou recovery actions.

Use our comment form below to or email caribou.recovery@gov.bc.ca to participate.

Your message will be sent to the email listed above as well as the following decision makers: 

  • Minister Catherine McKenna, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • George Heyman, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (tasked with caribou recovery)
  • Doug Donaldson, BC Minister and Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (implements wolf kills)

Read BC’s proposed caribou action plan here.

Suggested points for your comment:

I support a moratorium on all activities that destroy or disrupt caribou habitat in BC. At the same time, protected areas must be expanded to compensate for the foreseeable loss of caribou habitat owing to climate change.

Wolf kill programs are unacceptable as a wildlife management tool for both ethical and ecological reasons. I urge you to remove wolf killing from the toolbox of options as new recovery plans are developed for caribou.

There is no evidence that supports the hypothesis that wide-scale wolf kill programs will increase caribou populations in the long term, unless wolves are eradicated, or wolf killing is indefinite, both of which are ecologically irresponsible choices.

Wolf kill programs on a small scale are ineffective at reducing wolf numbers due to compensatory reproduction, immigration of wolves from surrounding areas into vacant territories, and changes in their family-based social structure.

The governments of B.C. and Alberta have been sterilizing and/or killing wolves for more than a decade. These efforts have not resulted in any measurable benefits for caribou. Indeed, Alberta’s wolf kill program failed to achieve any improvement in Boreal Caribou adult female survival, or any improvement in calf survival.

Intensive killing of wolves over an expansive range and prolonged period can lead to negative ecological repercussions. Killing wolves is not a ‘one time solution’. Wolf culls involve killing hundreds of wolves, and over the longer term (as necessary to re-establish habitat), likely thousands of wolves.

Aside from the obvious destruction of the environment, additional factors that contribute to ungulate decline include weather, nutrition and food availability, other predators, gene flow, population size, stress induced by humans and infrastructure, and perhaps most importantly the carrying capacity of the remaining habitat (National Research Council, 1997).

Protecting habitat is futile where apex predators are exploited and ecosystems are killed from within. Science is a tool that can inform. It does not give anyone permission to cause harm.

REFERENCE:National Research Council, 1997. Wolves, bears, and their prey in Alaska: biological and social challenges in wildlife management. National Academies Press.

 

Everyone is welcome to participate in our online survey.

Are you a BC resident? We have a printable BC Petition – act now!

We are currently collecting signatures from BC residents for our petition to end the wolf kill experiment and we need your help. Please join our efforts by downloading and printing our petition document and collecting signatures of support from friends, family and work colleagues.

 

Learn more about wolf mismanagement in Western Canada

Since 2005 in Alberta, more than 1,200 wolves have been killed under the guise of protecting Alberta’s Little Smokey Caribou herd in habitat 96% 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. Poison baits laced with strychnine have killed a minimum of 243 non-target animals in the Little Smoky range, although they were intended to kill wolves. This is reckless and needs to end.  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, with plans reviewed and endorsed by the same proponents of Alberta’s misguided lead. The plan includes a wolf kill program for a minimum of 5 years in the South Selkirk and South Peace areas.  In 2017, the wolf kill expanded wolf kill program to the Revelstoke area, and in 2018 it was further expanded within the South Peace.  A minimum of 402 wolves were killed over the first three winters.

In both provinces, wolves are chased by helicopters until they are exhausted, and then shot… who knows how many times…

The 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“.

Use the Google Earth Time Lapse Tool to see the habitat changes that have occurred in these areas.  Wolves have not caused these changes, we have.  A question remains: even if we are willing to restore these areas, could they ever fully recover to what they once were?

 

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.

 


 Would you like to increase your impact and contact more decision makers?

 

Contact the following decision makers responsible for wolf conservation and management to join the dialogue. 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.

Johnathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary, Environment and Climate Change Canada:  Jonathan.Wilkinson@parl.gc.ca

Stephen Hureau, Species at Risk Special Projects, Environment and Climate Change Canada stephen.hureau@canada.ca

 

British Columbia

click HERE to locate your MLA

Paul Rasmussen Provincial Caribou Recovery Program Email: Paul.Rasmussen@gov.bc.ca

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

 

 

IMPORTANT POINTS:.1606-WA-be-my-voice

1. Wolves are intelligent sentient animals.

2. A decision to continue killing wolves is morally and scientifically unsound.  Studies show that killing wolves does not reduce their population for long because their behaviour allows them to rebound quickly and fill in vacant spaces created where resident wolves have been killed.  Killing wolves is not a ‘one time solution’ for caribou, but would involve killing hundreds of wolves each and every year. Hundreds of wolves have already been killed and yet caribou habitat destruction is still rampant.

3. There are major ecological repercussions to wolf killing. Wolves are apex predators and keystone species that facilitate large-scale processes crucial to our own existence. Ripple effects through the ecosystem are detrimental to the behaviour and diversity of other species and natural processes.  Learn more about the ecological role of wolves.

4. Strangling neck snares (encouraged by both Alberta and BC governments) are inhumane and not approved methods of wildlife euthanasia by the Canadian Council of Animal Care. The Council also emphasizes the injuries and suffering inherent in attempting to shoot of wildlife in free ranging conditions, let alone from moving helicopters.

5. Ethics aside, predator control efforts can succeed in increasing prey populations only if sufficient habitat of adequate quality exists to support the expanded populations – that is, only when prey populations are well below the environmental carrying capacity.  It will take many decades for most caribou ranges to recover to this stage, if they ever do.

6. Aside from carrying capacity, the United States’ National Research Council identified many other factors that contribute to declining ungulate herds in the most comprehensive review of wolf and bear kill programs in North America[1]. These include: weather, nutrition and food availability, other predators and predation rates, population size, gene flow and genetic diversity.

7. Caribou habitat is still being used, impoverished, and destroyed through industrial and recreational activities.  Wolves are merely scapegoats used to distract the public from this fact.

[1] National Research Council, 1997. Wolves, bears, and their prey in Alaska: biological and social challenges in wildlife management. National Academies Press.

Let Us Take Action; Collectively & Individually.  

For now, and for the generations after us.

VOICE YOUR OPPINION and in our short survey at www.wehowl.ca

These caribou recovery plans are not built on an understanding of wolf ecology or 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

And media coverage: Ecologists Oppose BC Wolf Cull