“It is the caribou that feeds the wolf, and the wolf that keeps the caribou strong”.
-Ancient Inuit saying
Both provinces of Alberta and BC have been killing wolves for at least a decade under the guise of caribou recovery. This is not the solution. Caribou are in decline across the world. Like a canary in a coalmine, humans have been watching the health of animals to gauge the health of the surrounding environment for a very long time. Caribou are indicating to us that their habitat is no longer able to sustain them. Will we choose to further disrupt these ecosystems by killing wolves; an apex predator capable of causing trophic cascades?
Check out this coverage and informative video about what is happening in Alberta with wolves, caribou, and oil. Click here to watch “Cry Wolf, An Unethical Oil Film” by DeSmog Blog..
Wolves in Canada are running out of places to hide. In Alberta, a gruesome wolf kill program has been underway in the areas of the Little Smokey and A La Peche caribou herds since 2005, mounting a death toll of more than 1,000 wolves and more than 600 other animals in just over a decade. In January of 2015, the provincial BC government announced plans to kill up to 184 wolves living in British Columbia before the snow melted. Though they were only successful at killing 84 wolves the first season, they plan to continue the wolf killing program for a minimum of 5 years under the guise of helping to recover dwindling caribou herds in the South Selkirk and South Peace areas. In both provinces, wolves are chased by helicopters until they are exhausted, and then shot, who knows how many times…
Click here to READ, COPY, PRINT and SHARE our ACTION ALERT: help end Western Canada’s War on Wolves!
A sad reality is that caribou are in this situation because of us, not because of wolves. The province has 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.
Read this timely article about Maintaining ethical standards in conservation crises published in the Canadian Journal of Wildlife Biology and Management (2015) by leading scientists.
Another extremely important article also appeared in 2015 in the Journal of Biological Conservation titled Witnessing extinction, Cumulative impacts across landscapes.
In recent decades we have learned more about the true nature of wolves as emotional and intelligent beings, and just how important they are in maintaining balance and biodiversity. So why have British Columbia and Alberta undertaken aerial gunning programs for wolves?
- Wolves are emotional and intelligent beings whose predation on caribou is facilitated by habitat destruction.
- Wolves are a keystone species, capable of causing trophic cascades. Wolves help maintain biodiversity and facilitate large-scale processes in our wilderness ecosystems
FACT: A death sentence for wolves will not save endangered caribou.
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. These are part of a public trust.
We deserve to have our input listened to and considered.
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. It is no wonder this outdated management practice has consistently failed to increase ungulate populations long-term. This is not the first time wolf helicopter killing and sterilization has occurred in B.C. nor Alberta. However, with your voice, we can work to ensure it is the last.
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 short video “How Wolves Shape Rivers” about the critical ecological roles of wolves as a keystone species.
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 are not only small, but they are also 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 murdered.
FACT: Aerial shooting is not an approved method under Canada’s current guidelines on Approved Animal Care.
IN ALBERTA, More than 800 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.
Read this article by Marc Beckoff about compassionate conservation titled “Killing 890 Wolves to Learn About Them: Something’s Wrong”. The original “experiment” that killed so many Albertan animals can be read HERE.
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 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.
Why killing wolves is unacceptable
Wolf culls have been taking place in BC and Alberta for decades, indicating that this is a short-term and unsustainable technique as caribou numbers have continued to decline.
1. Wolf control is publicly unacceptable. Killing one (or more) species to save another is an outdated practice. Bringing harm to other sentient beings can not be justified. The end does not justify the means.
2. The intrinsic value of individual wolves cannot go ignored. Harming them and their families is unjustified when human actions have put caribou in this situation.
3. The ecological role of intact wolf families as a keystone species merits preserving them in their most natural form. In this way they can continue to help maintain balance and biodiversity in ecosystems.
4. There is a lack of scientific evidence that predator control will increase mountain caribou herds. Lethal control of wolves has mixed results and is unsound for long-term management of an ecosystem. When entire packs are eliminated, wolves from other areas may move in. Furthermore, sterilization may be ineffective in reducing births as sterilized breeders are killed during the process, lose their status in the pack or flee the area upon being returned.
5. Killing predators to help recover caribou is a short term design. Long term recovery of caribou requires a strategy that limits continued compromises on essential habitat. To date, what has been protected for BC Mountain Caribou is too small and isolated to ensure self-sustaining herds.
Please become informed and involved. Write. Call. Engage. Discuss.
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 writing to your local editor as well.
Below are listed relevant contacts for specific provinces:
The Honourable Christy Clark
PO Box 9041, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1
The Honourable Steve Thomson
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
PO Box 9049, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
The Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Environment,
PO Box 9339 Stn Prov Govt Victoria BC V8W9M1 Phone: 250 387-9870 Email: ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca
NDP FLNR Critic and Harry Baines
George Heyman, NDP Environment critic
Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver
The Honourable Rachel Notley, Premier
Phone: 780 427-2251
The Honourable Shannon Phillips
Minister of Environment and Parks
Phone: 780 427-2391
Deputy Minister Bill Werry
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Phone: 780 427-1799
Executive Director Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch Environment and Parks
Phone: 780 427-7763
Sue Cotterill, Section Head
Species at Risk, Non-Game and Wildlife Disease Policy Environment and Parks
Phone: 780 422-9535
Show and pledge your support: Stop the Wolf Kill, for the Love of Dog!
CALL TO ACTION! Will you join in For the love of Dog? And wolves…
- PRINT the DECAL at this link: decal-for-the-love-of-dog-nowolfcull
- TAKE A SELFIE WITH YOUR DOG- AKA WOLF DESCENDANT. (Or have someone else take the photo).
- Share your SELFIE with Wolf Awareness on Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook.
- Share it with your friends and family, and let them know they can print their own sign from the link above
- Why not ALSO show your local, provincial, and federal representatives HOW YOU FEEL about prioritizing compassionate conservation, ecological integrity, and the welfare of all sentient beings; INCLUDING wolves!
- Display the sign somewhere prominent so this important dialogue continues until wolf kill programs are stopped permanently.