Wolves scapegoated for tar sands oil development

 Notes from the Field - A conservation update from the Great Bear Rainforest

By Dr. Paul Paquet, Raincoast Sr. scientist & canid advocate


In northeastern Alberta, woodland caribou are teetering on extinction because multiple human disturbances – most pressingly, the tar sands development – have transformed their boreal habitat into a landscape that can no longer provide the food, cover and security they need to survive.

The relentless destruction of the boreal has conspired to deprive caribou of their life requisites while exposing them to unprecedented levels of predation. Consequently, caribou in and near the tar sands are on a slide toward extinction; not because of what wolves and other predators have done, but because of what humans continue to do to caribou livelihood.

However, egged on by a rapacious oil industry, the Canadian government is scapegoating wolves for the decline of caribou by encouraging a recovery strategy centered on killing thousands of wolves.

This is a morally and scientifically bankrupt plan that is more about protecting Alberta’s industrial sacred cow (the tar sands) than protecting caribou.  In essence, Canada’s proposed strategy to “recover” dwindling populations of woodland caribou favours the slaughter of wolves over any consequential protection, enhancement, or expansion of caribou habitat in Alberta.

Wolves and caribou have become the latest casualties of rampant and unbridled tar sands and pipeline developments, including the proposed Northern Gateway project and the Trans Mountain expansion.

Raincoast was one of the first conservation groups to call attention to the “tar sands wolf cull” last September, with articles in the Guardian UK and The Huffington Post.  Please support our ongoing efforts to halt this disgraceful plan by making a donation to our Stop the War on Wolves campaign and by letting federal environment Minister Peter Kent how you feel about a tar sands wolf cull.

Thank you for taking action and your support.


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Wolves are often blamed for low ungulate numbers when overhunting or habitat loss is actually the problem. Now in the name of Caribou Recovery, killing wolves is being done by the Canadian government instead of addressing the destruction of habitat by tar sands development.
NORTHERN GATEWAY SLIDE PRESENTATIONSJoin Raincoast  & Federal MP Elizabeth May to discuss the Northern Gateway oil tanker proposal.

April 21 6-9 PM   Sidney, BC   Mary Winspear Centre with Robert Bateman

April 14 4:00-6:00 PM             Salt Spring Island.

April 20 7-9 PM  Pender Island Pender Island Commity Hall

Raincoast Conservation Foundation PO Box 2429 Sidney, BC, Canada V8L 3Y3 Tel: (250) 655-1229
Web: raincoast.org Photo Credits: GaryAndJoanieMcGuffin.com, Klaus Pommerenke, Larry Travis
The decline in Alberta’s woodland caribou is due to loss of habitat from multiple human disturbances including tar sands development.Controlling wolves by killing them does not work as a long term solution for reducing wolf populations or protecting ungulates.The federal government estimates 6,000 wolves will be shot or poisoned by the Albertan and Canadian governments.

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Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.