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

Just A Theory

Date: 7th December 2017

Since you’re on this website I assume you know what Science means by the word ”theory”, but just to review – a theory is an explanation of the facts. Now that we have that out of the way, Ta Dah! – I have a theory. I think I now know why predator reduction programs are so popular among government bureaucracies.

It’s puzzling that when it comes to carnivores, strange decisions seem to be made in spite of the facts. For example, caribou researchers are saying that the major cause of caribou decline in B.C. and Alberta is destruction of habitat. To be sure, wolves and bears do have an impact on caribou populations but these effects are exacerbated by habitat disruption caused for the

most part by oil, gas and mining exploration. (See Blog – Bounties)

The policies that govern things like predator culling come from the Ministries of Natural Resources (MNR titles vary in each province and territory). I began to wonder why these policies always favour hunters, at the expense of predators. These people certainly have a background in wildlife ecology and they most certainly read the various research papers that are published. So how come their decisions always favour the killing of predators?

For most provinces and territories there is also a related issue: the lack of protection for predators. For example, in Southern Ontario wolves and coyotes may be hunted with a small game permit and the season is open year round with no bag limits and no mandatory reporting. Yet, a look at the hunting regulations in that same province, bullfrogs are protected and have a season and also a bag limit. Again the people responsible for these regulations are the people at the MNR.

This got me thinking. Hunting regulations for the most part are an attempt to enhance opportunities for humans to hunt the various game species such as deer, elk, caribou, moose and many others. Their only competitors are wolves, bears and mountain lions. This latter group hunts for survival, the former hunt often for sport.  So looking into it further I’ve found that people within these bureaucracies involved in policy making are, in many cases, hunters themselves. This appears to me to be a conflict of interest. If you’re a person who loves being outside and also has a passion for hunting, wouldn’t that influence your decisions in matters such as hunting regulations and possibly your feelings towards predators?

That’s just my theory.

I suggest that to rectify this imbalance in wildlife decision making which favours hunters, we should ask our respective governments to revise who actually develops wildlife practices. These committees should have wildlife photographers, birdwatchers, hikers and other non-consumptive people who appreciate nature for its intrinsic value as part of the group. Before you point to these outliers as having no formal conservation biology training, consider this: most intelligent people can read the results of these published wildlife papers regarding the decline of caribou and other prey species and understand what needs to be done to protect and conserve all that nature has to offer.

After all ——- It is 2017, isn’t it!

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