ADD YOUR VOICE BEFORE OCTOBER 6th!
B.C.'s draft agreements for caribou
BC has been shooting wolves from helicopters for the past 5 winters under the guise of caribou conservation, and of how dire the situation is for several caribou herds in British Columbia. But there is still hope for the caribou that remain and an opportunity to tell decision makers both provincially and federally that wolf and wildlife killing programs are not part of any conservation program that you would support, and that low-elevation habitat protection needs to happen for caribou NOW.
The provincial and federal governments recently released two draft agreements aimed at recovering threatened mountain caribou, and asking for public feedback through an online survey.
Please take this opportunity to have both the Province of B.C. and Government of Canada hear your concerns and express your support for ending predator and primary kill programs and protecting caribou habitat immediately.
Read our recent Opinion Editorial in the National Observer: Wolf kills and caribou zoos: here's what's wrong with BC's new recovery plan.
2 MAJOR CONCERNS
The plan to continue killing wolves using inhumane methods with no professional oversight to end suffering. This is planned despite not having completed an evaluation of the 5 year provincial wolf-killing experiment that was supposed to end after this past winter. In addition, other carnivores, and all non-caribou members of the deer family are also slated to be killed as part of the recovery program. Killing is not conservation.
The lack of immediate habitat protection required for caribou during this planning process, which will continue for another two years.
Sample Survey Answers
Here are some suggested answers to the survey questions regarding the B.C. government’s survey on the draft agreements.
Caribou: Draft Section 11 Agreement
1. Are there any actions in Annex 2 that you strongly disagree with? Please describe them and explain why you do not support them.
Yes. The planned action to continue killing wolves and other carnivores inhumanely (aerial shooting and neck killing snares) and with no professional oversight to end suffering is unacceptable. This program should be ended immediately, and certainly not expanded further as suggested in the Section 11 agreement. This action is wrongful to wolves on moral grounds and the negative ecological repercussions of removing apex predators must also be considered.
In addition, the provincial and federal governments should be focusing on protecting habitat immediately (moratorium on logging and other disturbances in caribou habitat) to safeguard caribou during this planning process which will take two years. This action adheres to the precautionary principle and has been recommended by scientists for decades.
2. Are there any actions in Annex 2 that you strongly support? Please describe them and explain why you support them.
I support the planned action to create additional habitat protection on Table 2, but I think the first move is to stop the destruction occurring in identified caribou habitat. Additional protection measures should include all herds whose habitat is threatened. I support the creation of a scientific committee, but I think it should be independent and include caribou biologists and ecologists with published academic research.
3. Are there any actions that you think are missing from the draft Section 11 Agreement? Please describe them and explain why you feel they should be added.
There is no commitment to habitat protection in the Section 11 agreement and no sense of urgency in the procurement of caribou habitat, which is the most essential part of caribou recovery. A moratorium on human activities and destruction of caribou habitat should be put in place immediately.
The killing of carnivores and primary prey species should be ended. We must focus on preserving old growth forests and contiguous forests that allow for the natural predatory defence mechanisms caribou have evolved. Restoration of habitat will take a long time and must begin immediately, along with the deactivation of roads and linear features in caribou habitat.
A scientific committee is indeed necessary but should remain independent from government and include researchers with published work on caribou biology.
4. Overall, do you support the Parties entering into the Section 11 Agreement? Why or why not?
I can support a Section 11 agreement that would end the killing of other species and delivers meaningful habitat protection for caribou now and into the future.
Draft Partnership Agreement
For the 1 to 4 rating questions:
Check 4, "Strongly Support" for all of them except predator control (AKA killing of wolves, cougars, bears, coyotes, wolverines) which we strongly oppose.
1. Are there any actions identified in the draft Partnership Agreement that you strongly disagree with? Please describe them and explain why you do not support them.
The Partnership Agreement should not include killing predators or primary prey species. These animals have inherent worth and this type of bloodbath cannot be what our Species At Risk Act was intended for. Low elevation caribou habitat must be protected as caribou rely on valley bottoms seasonally and this has so far been neglected. This agreement should prioritize caribou over industry where there is overlap in range if we are to save this species.
2. Are there any actions identified in the draft Partnership Agreement that you strongly support? Please describe them and explain why you support them.
I strongly support the protection of more caribou habitat, and the creation of more protected areas for endangered species and healthy ecosystems.
3. Are there any actions that you feel are missing from the draft Partnership Agreement? Please describe them and explain why you feel they should be added.
The Partnership Agreement should withdraw plans for Actions that involve killing carnivores and primary prey, and protect more caribou habitat at all elevations for all herds starting with an immediate moratorium on activities that disrupt caribou and their habitat.
4. Overall, do you support the Parties entering into the Partnership Agreement? Why or why not?
No, I do not support measures to protect caribou that include the suffering of other species. Predator kill programs are outdated and should not be a part of any recovery strategy. They cause suffering to individual animals as well as negative ecological repercussions. Instead, the focus should be on protecting habitat immediately and beginning restoration efforts.
5. Do you have any additional comments?
The provincial and federal governments should continue learning from and working with independent scientists and indigenous people in B.C. on these important issues.