Common Sense Canadian
 

Alliance Blasts Province Over Wolf “Management” Plan

Posted May 6, 2011 by Damien Gillis in Politics
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Campbell-Clark Government Goes After Wolves

photo: Ian McAllister/Pacific Wild

An alliance of 23 animal rights and environmental groups in BC and across Canada is furious at the BC Liberal government’s decision not to consult them regarding a new “wolf management plan” it is developing. According to a press release from the Canadian Wolf Coalition, speaking on behalf of the alliance, “The groups are greatly concerned a new wolf management plan will only legitimize the systematic killing of wolves to appease big game hunters by artificially increasing the populations of animals such as caribou and elk.”

The groups – which include BC-based organizations like the Canadian Wolf Coalition, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and Valhalla Wilderness Association – banded together in response to a 2009 report for the Province which recommended culling wolves by helicopter to minimize costs. The same contractor who wrote that report, Steven F. Wilson, has now been put in charge of developing the government’s wolf management plan – to the consternation of these environmental and animal rights groups.

According to Sadie Parr, Project Coordinator for the Canadian Wolf Coalition,”Despite the assurances of government biologists that the survival of wolves as a species in BC is not threatened by predator control, reports suggest that less than 3% of Canada is adequately protected for wolves. Even provincial parks allow hunting of wolves, and most National Parks are too small to adequately protect a healthy population.”

Parr adds, “Current wolf management already allows sterilization of dominant breeding pairs, removal of lower ranking wolves and shooting from helicopters. Furthermore, under the current hunting regulations baiting is allowed, and it is not mandatory to report wolf kills. There are also long hunting seasons, and no bag limits in some areas. It is ridiculous.”

The groups are calling on the BC Government to include in their wolf management plan strategies that will:

•    protect habitat for wolves and their prey
•    eliminate wolf hunting and trapping
•    replace lethal control and sterilization with other non-invasive strategies
•    reduce wolf-human conflict through educational initiatives

The group’s concerns are undersocred by the fact that BC is one of the last bastions for wild wolf populations in the world. “Majestic and elusive, wolves in this province have persisted against continuous threats, providing a unique opportunity and responsibility to preserve them in their most natural form.”

[Editor’s Note: During his time as BC Environment Minister in the late 1970s, Common Sense Canadian co-founder Rafe Mair brought in legislation banning the slaughter of wolves.]

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About the Author

Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

15 Comments


  1.  

    i have lived in the bush counrty most of my life. i have had more trouble with humans, then with wild animals i had wolfves,black bear, gizzles, elk, deer. i also had cows and calfs horses, chickens, dogs and cats. i never lost any of my stock or pets to wild animals only to humans.




  2.  
    Phyllis

    Any European visitor to our National Parks will tell you that we have an opportunity in Canada to protect our remaining wildlife treasures which have been decimated in European habitats. Please listen to the voices of reason, like the Canadian Wolf Coalition and other environmental groups that advise caution regarding the BC government’s “Wolf Management Plan”. Biodiversity is nature’s way of providing for all.




  3.  
    WAB

    Damien, thank you for replying to my post.

    All of that habitat you want to save doesn’t do the caribou any good if they can’t live there. And they can’t if the mother caribou have to find secretive hideaways, possibly with little food, in the hopes that the wolves (or other predators) won’t find them and kill their babies during calving.

    What is the definition of habitat anyway? Shouldn’t it include whether caribou can live with the other animals also living in the area?




  4.  

    Brian do you not realise that wolf-coyote hybrids are another symptom of urban sprawl and development? Historically these 2 distinct species rarely tollerated eachother, and now gene sharing has been forced upon the canids in order to survive in the ghetto created for them. Do you recognise that one of the only places left south of Sudbury where wolf-coyote hybridisation is not occurring is in Algonquin Provincial park, equipped with buffer zones preventing wolf (and coyote) harvest in surrounding townships. ie. one of the only wild places large enough where wolf packs can survive without being exploited, forced to change their mating habits.
    The bottom line for wolves, coyotes, caribou, lichens, and everything in between is habitat protection. Protection of natural places large enough to support functioning ecosystems at all levels.
    Can you honestly sanction the killing of wolves, as well as relaxed hunting regulations on cougars, black bears, and ungulates other than caribou for caribou recovery WHILE mineral exploration, heli-skiing, glading, roads that accompany such things are STILL allowed in the areas that have been “protected” for caribou? Get humans out. Augment




  5.  
    Brian

    Not so quick with your logic, Mr Gillis. WAB is onto something. I am used to hearing from environmental groups that caribou survive only in “wilderness.” Writing from the east, I notice that today the arrival here of the wolf-coyote hybrid, including toNewfoundland, increases the dispersal of caribou away from traditional safe areas and they immediately decline. Three free guesses why….

    Development efforts in the interior do need to be organized. Conversion of forest by logging to younger stages has helped deer populations thrive and along with them wolves, at the same time that public support for hunting in fact dwindles. Construction and maintenance of forest – and park – access roads give wolves the advantage; so-called nature lovers just go on to demand more and more weekend mobility. Global warming keeps wolf prey expanding northward, as we approve so-called green energy projects that cause extensive loss of habitat used by caribou to escape wolves. Yes, that such problems keep recurring is the real conservation issue. But in the interim, reducing wolves is a bold but soundly logical way to stave off the potential loss of an endangered species.




  6.  
    Damien Gillis

    WAB, there are far greater threats to caribou than wolves – particularly loss of habitat from logging, mining, roads, dams and power lines that disrupt wildlife corridors, and hunting…Why don’t we start by addressing those impacts before we sanction the slaughter of these magnificent creatures? Your argument reminds me of those who would have us cull seals to protect wild fish, as opposed to dealing with the impacts of human over-fishing, salmon farms, and habitat destruction. You’re framing this as a choice between wolves and caribou – how about protecting them both?…Moreover, I know of few groups doing more to protect caribou in the Kootenays than Valhalla Wilderness Society and they’re one of the key members in this alliance opposed to the wolf “management” plan (an awful euphemism if there ever was one).




  7.  
    WAB

    Ecosystems are complicated things and what can seem like the obvious thing to do can be the wrong thing to do.

    As moose and deer move north, they support greater and greater numbers of wolves. Naturally, wolves prefer the easier prey: caribou. In particular, they like nice young caribou calves just barely born. As such, caribou herds are in serious decline and facing extinction across Canada.

    Why is it wrong to kill wolves to protect caribou and yet okay for wolves to kill an unsustainable number of caribou?

    If we also love caribou, we must control wolf numbers to low enough levels so that enough caribou calves can grow up. Isn’t this a desirable outcome?




  8.  
    Michael

    Ignorance has led to many disasters in the world including the slaughter of humans due to religious and political persecution. The devastation of keystone species such as the wolf is a similar travesty that can only be stopped through education. Thank-you Canadian Wolf Coalition for helping me understand how Canadian wildlife biodiversity depends upon the wolf. Keep up the good work




  9.  
    Cryleo

    Great article, I’m so glad there’s the Canadian Wolf Coalition and other organizations that are putting great effort into making this world a better place. My comment below was for the first comment posted. It really terrifies me that there is people out there that think this way. Thanks CWC, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Valhalla Wilderness Association and all other organizations trying to make a difference.




  10.  
    Cryleo

    Gazillions of wolves out there? More like around 50,000 in Canada, second biggest in the world, yeah good for us Canadians that’s pretty close to a gazillion. If you can’t tell my sarcasm, maybe you should think about that number. 50,000 people makes up a really small city, imagine that spread out IN ALL OF CANADA! Wolves were here way before us and are a keystone species so how about lets start respecting them and all other predators.

    We cull deer from cities, log the forest to death, put resorts in highly fragile areas, pave bogs, act like the oceans are our dumpsters and then we want to blame wolves for the decrease in ungulates. WHAT? Baiting, trapping, sterilizing and shooting wolves from helicopters makes me feel sick to be a human being.

    If only the public and media would cry out for the slaughtering of wolves as much as they are for the sled dogs slaughtered in Whistler. Why aren’t they? Because we can’t cuddle wolves and tell them to sit when they’re bugging us? Think we need to start thinking hard about what we’re doing to this beautiful and very delicate earth we live in. Because we only have one.




  11.  
    Sara Stewart

    By not protecting what we have is how we’ve lost so much. Thank goodness for organizations like the Wolf Coalition. Hopefully the government, who makes the decisions we have to live by, will listen to this advice and what the public thinks is right.




  12.  
    Weez'

    Of course the BC Liberals didn’t include any environmental or animal rights groups to help form their “wolf management plan”. That’s because they HAVE no idea how to manage these amazing, peaceful, beautiful animals. All they ever have is a slaughter plan, made necessary (in their minds) because they haven’t left any wild spaces for caribou and other ungulates to thrive. It’s always the animals who lose. Be a voice for them and WRITE to your premier and MLA’s!! If we want future generations to have wildlife, we need to start protecting them!!!!!




  13.  
    David

    One of the problems is that we don’t know how many wolves there are out there. MOF has been so decimated by the Liberal gov’t that we now know very little about what is going on. Having said that, there is no excuse for killing wolves unless there is a proven threat to greatly diminished ungulate species. Even then the cause for reduced ungulate numbers is invariably habitat loss caused by urbanization and industrial clear cut logging and the ecological dead zones that it it creates. It is too convenient to blame the predators that are important indicator species.




  14.  
    SP

    Even if there were “Gazillions” of wolves in BC, all management should be for conservation and based on ethics. This is the “decade of biodiversity” (designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) due to a global decline in all species, noteably large predators. Healthy wolf populations help maintain health and balance of entire ecosystems.

    There are no reasons to kill wolves other than for recreational purposes, and it is impossible to justify killing for fun in 2012.

    If wolves cannot live as part of a functioning ecosystem in Canada, WHERE in the world CAN they live? WE are one of the last few places with intact greenspace and few people. Wolves elsewhere in the world are faring on garbage and forced to find livestock…is this the type of Canada we want?

    The largest and healthiest caribou populations remaining in the world coexist with wolves. It is a shame that many enlightened humans choose not to try and learn too.

    Recall and old Inuit saying “It is the caribou that feeds the wolf, but the wolf that keep the caribou strong.” Certainly humans have altered the natural balance on the planet, but let’s choose to preserve wilderness now




  15.  
    Wayne

    Theres gazillions of wolves out there. They don’t just kill the old and the weak and they don’t only kill for food. They are devestating ungulate populations everywhere they roam.





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