Since the BC government started killing wolves in 2015, 1,429 wolves have been trapped, hunted or shot from low-flying aircrafts under the guise of caribou recovery. In a re-analysis of the data set used to rationalize lethal wolf control, a peer-reviewed study by scientists from Raincoast and the universities of Alberta, British Columbia, and Victoria suggests lethal control had no statistical signal of efficacy in the recovery of endangered caribou. Despite these findings, the BC government is trying to extend this predator control method for five more years. They are conducting a survey to gather public opinion about killing wolves until November 15.
Public opinion played a role in ending the grizzly hunt in BC, and your voice in this cause matters!
The wolf as a scapegoat
While the culling of wolves may provide temporary relief for caribou, Raincoast’s large carnivore experts caution that “keeping caribou herds afloat would require the extraordinary persecution of wolves, carried out over large landscapes and over long time periods (perhaps on the order of decades).” Wolves are resilient and thus, five more years of lethal control means BC wolves will be caught in an enduring cycle of suffering and replenishment, only to face more suffering again.
This is also an animal welfare issue. BC is one of two Canadian provinces that has not adopted the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) standards that guide the welfare and humane treatment of wild and domestic animals. As such, BC’s government-sanctioned wolf culls are not in accordance with this national standard.
Intact forests are the most important component of caribou recovery. As the government seeks approval to continue scapegoating wolves, commercial logging and fossil-fuel industries continue to transform areas of woodland caribou habitat into a landscape that can no longer provide the food, cover, and security these animals need to survive.
An extraordinary cost
Over the winter of 2019 and 2020 the BC government spent almost $2 million to kill 463 wolves according to an email from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development, an average of $4,300 per wolf. In the habitat of the Graham herd in the South Peace region, where 16 wolves were shot over the winter, the province spent close to $175,000 – nearly $11,000 per wolf.
Take action now
Each year the senseless killing is allowed to continue, hundreds more wolves will die in BC. Let the BC government know it is time to stop killing wolves under the guise of caribou recovery. Tell them that wolf control cannot occur in the absence of authentic steps to restore habitat, which includes the end of ongoing destruction permitted by the province. The government survey is open until 4pm PST on November 15, 2021.
Tips on filling out the survey
|Page #||Question||Briefing notes|
|1||N/A||Review as desired, scroll to bottom, click “Take the survey”|
|2||N/A||Review as desired, scroll to bottom, click “Next”|
|3||1) Since the 1990s, B.C.’s caribou population has declined from 40,000 to approximately 15,000. What do you consider to be the three greatest causes of this population decline?||1) Damage to caribou habitats from natural resource extraction activities (e.g., forestry/logging/mining)|
2) Urbanization (roads and fragmentation)
3) Climate change
|3||2) How important is the recovery of caribou in B.C. to you?||“Very important”|
|3||3) Why is caribou recovery important to you?||Respond as relevant|
|4||1) Do you spend time in areas where predator reduction for caribou recovery is being considered?||Respond as relevant|
|4||2) Are you aware of the reasons the Province of B.C. states for the need to reduce predators to recover caribou?||“Yes”|
|4||3) Do you agree predator reduction is a necessary action for caribou recovery?||“Strongly disagree”|
|4||3a) If you disagree with predator reduction for caribou recovery, please tell us why?||“It is inhumane”; “Other” responses can indicate there is no statistical support for this measure (Harding et al., 2020)|
|4||4) Are there any herds that you feel should be added to or removed from predator reduction for caribou recovery?||Respond as relevant|
|4||5) What other caribou recovery actions do you feel are important to implement?||Higher ranking items:|
– Habitat protection (regulating land use)
– Management of motorized winter recreation (snowmobile and cat/heli-skiing, etc)
– Habitat restoration
Lower ranking items:
– Predator reduction
– Habitat management-beneficial management practices for recreation and industry
|4||6) From what sources (if any) have you learned about predator reduction for caribou recovery?||Respond as relevant|
|4||7) Do you have any additional comments you would like to provide regarding the predator reduction program?||Adding your own sentiment is helpful. Remember: wolf control cannot occur in the absence of authentic steps to restore habitat, which includes the end of ongoing habitat destruction permitted by the province.|
|5||8) Where do you live?||Respond as relevant|
|5||9) Do you self-identify with any of the following equity groups?||Respond as relevant|
|5||10) How would you best describe the reason for your interest in caribou recovery initiatives in B.C. (select the one category that you feel best reflects your interest):||Respond as relevant|
Help us protect KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest
Together with Pender Islands Conservancy, we are raising funds to purchase and permanently protect a 45 acre forested property on the edge of the Salish Sea. The KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest is located within the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Canada. It is also among the most threatened in Canada. Protecting these forests is an investment in our collective future.
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