An intention made public by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations last week has a local wolf activist, and many others around the province, up in arms.
In an effort to protect caribou populations, Ministry staff will aim to remove up to 24 wolves by shooting them from a helicopter before snow melts in two regions, South Selkirk Mountains and in the South Peace.
“Hunting and trapping of wolves have not effectively reduced populations and may even split up packs and increase predation rates on caribou,” read a provincial press release.
“There are new plans to kill an estimated 184 (although the government has stated 24) wolves living in British Columbia before the snow melts. Whole packs will be chased by helicopters until they are exhausted, and then shot under the guise of recovering dwindling caribou herds in the South Selkirk and South Peace areas. Caribou are in this situation because of us, not because of wolves,” said Sadie Parr, director of Wolf Awareness Inc.
“The public deserves to be informed about how their tax dollars are being spent, to what end, and for how long. The public deserves to know how BC’s iconic apex predators are treated and how our wildlife and wild places are consistently coming in second place to short-sighted industrial greed.”
Parr calls this decision an “expensive and shortsighted” approach which she believes will not result in adequate caribou recovery.
The government acknowledges that habitat recovery for caribou will also be required, and will continue. However it is not enough to help these herds in the short term.
Their operational plan for these two regions was independently peer-reviewed.
To view a copy of the wolf management plan, visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/management-issues/docs/grey_wolf_management_plan.pdf.