Howling with happiness for Alberta’s wolves

Calgary Herald Editorial

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It’s always heartening when government bows to the advice of experts like Paul Paquet, one of the foremost wolf experts in North America, instead of forging on blindly ahead regardless. The provincial Tories’ decision to cancel a plan to sterilize the breeding pairs in four wolf packs living in the Rocky Mountain House area is a wise move, especially in light of the fact that this hare-brained experiment was only intended to increase elk populations in order for hunters to have more elk available to kill.

Besides sterilization, the province in conjunction with the University of Alberta also wanted to kill members of other wolf packs. Naturally, the Alberta Fish & Game Association is upset with a new provincial proposal to cut the quota of elk tags issued for hunters, in an attempt to let elk numbers rise on their own. However, a few less elk being hunted this year is a much better approach to the problem than tampering with the social structure and breeding hierarchy of wolf packs. AFGA president Maurice Nadeau says there are too many wolves in the area. Yet, the wolves only prey on the sick and injured elk — thereby strengthening the herd for the hunters’ ultimate benefit anyway.

It is hard to summon up much sympathy for some hunters who will be deprived of elk to kill this year, when the alternative — creating a possible threat to the sustainability of wolves in the longer term, as Paquet predicted — is absolutely untenable.

[ Note: We are proud that Raincoast’s Science Advisor Paul Paquet helped spearhead the opposition to this ill-conceived plan]

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