Today, (Dec 5 2012) was the last day for input to the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources DRAFT Wolf Mangement plan. This plan includes aerial gunning of wolves from helicopters, as well as other hunting and shooting methods aimed at ridding the province of canis lupus.
DRAFT Management Plan for Humans (Homo sapiens) in British Columbia
By Ken S. Lupus et al. BC Ministry of Wild Wolves
We model the structure of our plan after the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ Draft Management Plan for Wolves in British Columbia. Although our plans are fundamentally different in how we decide to treat one another, we similarly assert that this document is premised on the best available scientific information (we had some help by Biologists Chris Darimont and Paul Paquet).
Notably, however, our plan for management of humans draws upon an additional and important dimension that shapes policy in advanced civilizations: commonly-held ethical values.
We begin with some straightforward conservation context. Based on their rapidly increasing numbers and range, humans have been categorized as Not at Risk by the Lupine Committee of Categorizing Other Animals We Have Never Harmed. We note, however, on the other hand –– and despite thousands of management plans by
humans –– global biodiversity is severely threatened as a result of human activities.
(According to information shared by human sources), humans play a very important role in maintaining so-called “game” populations, raising livestock among us wolves in formerly wild landscapes and saving animals like caribou from rapid extinction due to resource extraction activities. On the other hand, some hunters, livestock groups and industrial-government complexes behind these presumably noble acts also comprise a significant threat to wolf safety and welfare. Accordingly, our plan must strike a balance to manage humans for conservation while minimizing conflicts with wolves.
We likewise adopt the same four management objectives stated by our simian colleagues, though with modified details. Topping this list is: 1) to ensure a self-sustaining population of humans throughout the species’ range. We suppose that we will have to accept this inevitability. We suspect, however, that this spells trouble for us. If human behaviour remains unaltered –– and caribou continue to dwindle and ranchers continue to believe that some god created landscapes with only their cows in mind –– we expect a future of increasing conflicts.
Our plan’s second objective is: to provide for non-consumptive use of humans. Why not? No harm in setting up some eco-tourism by us wolves to partake in some human-watching. We need not look further than Yellowstone National Park, Thomson (Manitoba) and Algonquin Park to
know that humans can make a mint with sustainable wolf-based eco-tourism.
Unlike the wolf management plan, however, which was designed by more wanton predators, we have no plans for so-called “consumptive” use of humans. Although humans would be easy pickings, we are just not known to do this. And…really…why would anyone kill something for any other reason than to eat? For sport or for trophy? No thanks. Surely no advanced society would ever condone or endorse that sort of behaviour. Nor would any real hunter. That just leaves a bad taste in our mouths (and we often eat poop).
Perhaps the most important part of our Plan for Humans is: to minimize the threat to wolf safety caused by humans. Whereas wolves pose a very limited threat to humans, the opposite is certainly not true. Where we still co-exist in BC, about 1200 of us wolves are killed deliberately each year by hunters and trappers…for sport, trophy or profit. While human “wildlife managers” are quick to point out that we wolves can replenish our numbers, even amidst such persecution, our concern is the suffering imposed on us. Imagine the pain when hot metal of bullets shreds our viscera (or worse, our limbs) or the agony inflicted when one of us is tormented by a leg-hold trap.
Clearly, any management plan should address suffering among highly sentient animals. Unfortunately, our plan to minimize threats to wolf safety has no details. Given all the technological advantage humans have acquired, like high-powered rifles, predator calls to lure us and more, they simply have the upper hand.
Finally, and again mirroring the Wolf Plan, our fourth objective is: to control specific populations of humans where their activities are likely preventing the recovery of a species at risk (e.g., endangered populations of caribou). Whereas humans have hatched some vicious scapegoating plans for us as last ditch efforts to save caribou from logging or oil & gas extraction, we have yet to find successful methods to control oil & gas lobby groups.
We therefore appeal to our human friends within BC for help. In closing, we turn to history. It has taken decades to expunge in part the nonsense about wolves portrayed in fairy tales. How many more decades will it take to do the same in provincial management plans for wolves? Although window-dressed in greenspeak, they differ little from government plans pumped out during the darker days of the 1950s and 80s.