PRESS RELEASES

Killing Wolves Will Not Save Caribou - An Urgent Call for Saving Old-growth Forests

MEDIA RELEASE - Dec.1, 2020: Golden, British Columbia – BC’s new Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Katrine Conroy, has inherited a crisis that requires urgent action.  Today, she received a stark Call to Action from a coalition of NGO’s and notables demanding long overdue protection of caribou habitat and a concurrent end to the unethical killing of wolves, and other wildlife, that is taking place under her ministry.

BC’s caribou populations have been declining for the last half-century, a trajectory accelerated by continued large-scale logging and other damaging human activities.  Despite a long history of research, recommendations, reports, stakeholder meetings, planning groups, proposals, and press releases the destruction of caribou habitat continues, with more cut blocks and mining planned, along with an expanding program of aerially gunning wolves.

An impressive list of groups and people are demanding that the new BC Government honour its commitments on Species at Risk, climate, biodiversity, and First Nations by adopting a more effective approach.

Ecologist Michael Bloomfield has been a voice for caribou for decades. He explains, “Since the 1970’s I have watched successive BC governments ignore proven science and continue to waste time and money on the failed and misguided strategy of scapegoating wolves. It has been clear for decades that caribou are being driven to extinction by destructive human activities. As a result, caribou generally and particularly BC’s unique deep-snow dwelling mountain caribou have declined sharply over recent years.”

Last winter nearly 500 wolves in BC died agonizing deaths through aerial gunning under the guise of caribou conservation. Contractors hired by government to shoot wolves from helicopters are typically self-supervised and this killing method often entails extreme anxiety, pain and suffering prior to death, failing to ensure that wolves are killed humanely.

Research recently published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation found that wolf kill programs in BC (and Alberta) cannot be shown to provide the presumed benefit for reversing the decline of endangered caribou[1] and are based, at best, on guesswork.

Sadie Parr, executive director of conservation group Wolf Awareness, says she is “Sick of the denialism taking place.” “Habitat loss not wolves is driving caribou to extinction in British Columbia. Killing wolves is a cruel distraction and an ecologically unsound practice”, she explains. “We can’t understand why a government with a declared commitment to more sustainably managing the environment continues policies and practices that science shows are ineffective and inhumane.” 

Returning Environment Minister John Heyman, Minister of State for lands and natural resource, Nathan Cullen and Premier John Horgan also received this collective Call to Action.

 “We wish them well in achieving their goals of improved management of forests and wildlife and remain ready to help craft a more humane and effective plan of action,” states Bloomfield.

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[1] Harding, L.E., M. Bourbonnais, A.T. Cook, T. Spribille, V. Wagner and C.T. Darimont.  No statistical support for wolf control and maternal penning as conservation measures for endangered mountain caribou. Biodivers Conserv (2020).

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Letter to BC Gov’t: Collective Call to Action

Link to short video (BC caribou/wolf documentary):  https://vimeo.com/481051698

CONTACTS: Michael Bloomfield- ecologist/Harmony Fndn 

harmony@islandnet.com / 250-380-3001

 

Sadie Parr- biologist/ ED of Wolf Awareness sadie@wolfawareness.org  /  250-272-4695

Photos show government-contracted wolf killers displaying carcasses like trophies
 
TrophyHunt_Alberta Wolf Kill.jpg
Trophy Hunt 2_Alberta Wolf Kill.jpg

Photos reveal Western Canada’s wolf kill program is really a trophy hunt

MEDIA RELEASE - March 3, 2020: Two photos of government-contracted helicopter staff showing off wolves they’ve shot down as part of Alberta’s caribou recovery program have been confidentially delivered to Wolf Awareness.

The first photo shows a man propping up a dead wolf on his knee, with the weapon laid across the wolf’s chest. The photo was taken with a Hughes MD 500D helicopter from Bighorn Helicopters Inc. as a backdrop in the middle of a roadway surrounded by forest.  The second photo shows a different man holding the head of a dead white wolf so that it faces the camera with him. In this photo, the same Bighorn helicopter acts as backdrop, however the setting is a clear-cut.

The photos are said to be a few years old, but aerial gunning of wolves continues to take place in numerous caribou ranges in Alberta as a last-ditch and controversial effort to halt caribou declines. It also occurs in BC.

“Although we’ve blocked out their faces for privacy reasons, these images remind me of photos depicting trophy hunters posing with their kills,” notes Sadie Parr, Executive Director of Wolf Awareness.  

“What an appalling waste of life and taxpayer dollars. The wolves would have been chased down by the helicopter pilot and subsequently shot at until they fell or disappeared wounded under forest cover,” remarks Hannah Barron, Conservation Director of Wolf Awareness. “Can Canadians accept that this is “caribou conservation”? As a conservation biologist, I certainly don’t, but unless our governments commit to meaningful habitat protection, this is what caribou conservation is going to look like for the next several decades in western Canada.”

In Alberta, aerial gunning is used in addition to provincial staff laying strychnine, as well as by trapping (some incentivized), which is mostly done with neck snares. Strychnine is a highly toxic poison – since 2005 it’s killed a minimum of 250 “accidental” victims from 12 non-target species, including at-risk Grizzly bears, in the Grand Cache area. 

Despite the dangers this program presents to people and companion animals, let alone wildlife, conservation biologist Lisa Dahlseide, who is working with Wolf Awareness, has not been able to get a status update on this year’s program.

"The government appears to have no interest in letting the public know how their tax dollars are being spent in the killing of wolves,” explains Dahlseide.  “After several attempts to confirm costs and if the poisoning program, aerial killing and trapping subsidies have initiated this winter season, there has been no reply from multiple AEP staff. We know that removing wolves results in severe ecological debt, and clearly the government does not want the public to know the associated tax payer debt."

Drew Yewchuk at the Public Interest Law Clinic at the University of Calgary filed a freedom of information request for 'All records relating to the wolf culling program in Alberta, especially those documents addressing costs of the program.' The response was 2 pages indicating Alberta Environment and Parks does not calculate the costs of any of the individual activities (which include Wolf Population Reduction, Bison and Caribou population monitoring, staff salaries, and external grants) that are part of Alberta's $4,189,250 Woodland Caribou Budget for 2018/2019. "Freedom of Information in Alberta is generally disappointing" said Mr. Yewchuk "but this is one of the most obviously misleading responses I've seen. No one could believe this. Even Alberta Environment and Parks isn't careless enough to spend more than four million dollars without tracking where the money is actually going."

Aerial gunning has also been occurring or is proposed to occur in 11 caribou ranges in British Columbia, another province where Bighorn Helicopters Inc. has been contracted to kill wolves. Poison is not used to kill wolves in BC, but hunting and trapping of wolves is virtually without restriction and encouraged by government.

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Photos attached.

Sources, as well as the identities of people photographed will remain confidential. Government documents outlining non-target kills from strychnine and snaring available upon request.

TrophyHunt_Alberta Wolf Kill.jpg

Media Contacts:


Lisa Dahlseide - 

587-439-8267 

lisa@wolfawareness.org

Hannah Barron - 

647- 567-8337  hannah@wolfawareness.org

Drew Yewchuk -        

403-220-6733

drew.yewchuk@ucalgary.ca

This media release was done in conjunction and with support from 

Animal Alliance of Canada.

About Wolf Awareness Inc.

Wolf Awareness is a team of conservationists and scientists whose primary goal is to foster awareness and appreciation of wolves, wolf ecology, conservation and co-existence.

Trophy Hunt 2.jpg
 

Cruel secret about BC’s wolf kill program revealed

 

The BC Government lied about how they use wolves to betray their family packs.

 

(GOLDEN, BC – Dec. 11, 2019) A gruesome detail about BC’s wolf-killing program has been revealed in a new government report titled South Peace Caribou Recovery following Five Years of Experimental Wolf Reduction.  Individual wolves that are radio-collared to later reveal the location of their pack are exposed to repeated trauma in this highly disturbing practice…over and over again.  Despite being denied by government in previous media enquiries, the Methods section of the 2019 experimental report describes how the collared wolf is left to watch as it’s entire family is gunned down from the air, and kept alive year after year, being forced to repeatedly witness the death of any wolf that befriends it. 

“Knowing that wolves are highly sentient and dependent on each other for survival makes this practice unbearable to think about, yet we must.  Imagine what these collared wolves experience. How many times do they have to suffer?” questions Sadie Parr, executive director of Wolf Awareness.

In 2016 the province reluctantly admitted that it net-guns individual wolves from helicopters to fit them with radio collars so that gunmen can be flown in at a later date to relocate the collared wolf with its family and kill them all.  The animals collared in the practice described above are often referred to as "Judas Wolves" to portray a sense of ultimate betrayal; yet Judas made a deliberate choice.  

The South Peace wolf-kill program, which encompasses an area larger than half of Vancouver Island, has killed more than 550 wolves and is proposed to continue for an indefinite period; until the landscape can no longer support sufficient elk, moose and deer to feed wolves.  Inhumane tax- funded wolf kill programs are also underway in areas around Revelstoke and Nelson.

The province recommitted to transparent and fulsome consultation about caribou recovery planning after several heated community meetings elicited outrage in BC’s interior. However, the ministry then conducted a closed consultation in its proposal to expand the wolf kill program underway to three additional areas (Tweedsmuir-Entiako, Hart Ranges, and Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herd ranges) and pay hunters to kill cougars in the Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou range. The consultation document was finally leaked to conservation groups, who immediately opposed the plans.  

Conservation group Wolf Awareness maintains that wolves are being scapegoated for industrial and recreational interests, and that wolves, wildlife and ecosystems deserve better.

 

Says Parr.  “The tax-funded unethical and inhumane wolf kill program coupled with secrecy and pitifully inadequate caribou habitat protection is a stain on the entire country.  Ethical and ecological considerations are being ignored.”

-- 30 –

For Media Inquiries

Sadie Parr  -  Executive Director

Wolf Awareness Inc.

T 250.272.HOWL (4695)

E sadie@wolfawareness.org 

W wolfawareness.org

About Wolf Awareness Inc.
 

Wolf Awareness is a team of conservationists and scientists whose primary goal is to foster awareness and appreciation of wolves, wolf ecology, conservation and co-existence.

Pages from south_peace_caribou_recovery_

"The radio-collared individuals were often left alive following the conclusion of the winter reduction efforts in order to facilitate the location of wolves the following winter."

Accessed from:

South Peace Caribou Recovery following Five Years of Experimental Wolf Reduction

BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural

Development

 

August 2019

Calls for conservation ethics falling on deaf ears in BC, will Canada ignore pleas too?

 

Caribou draft agreements ignore majority opposition to wolf kill programs.

 

May 28, 2019 (GOLDEN, BC) -- Two jointly proposed recovery plans for some caribou herds in the province of BC are set to rely heavily on killing wolves for decades, ignoring input from wolf biologists and a majority of respondents who voiced opposition to wolf kill programs during a 2012 public comment period on BC’s wolf management plan.

 

Until May 31st , the BC government is accepting public comments on the plans which could lead to decades of publicly funded aerial wolf shooting, as well as the killing of moose and deer and potentially cougar, bear and wolverine. Each year, hundreds of animals will be killed in attempt to prevent further declines of the threatened caribou populations. Neither of the two plans explain how quality habitat (i.e. caribou-friendly climax forests that can support self-sustaining herds) will appear in light of continued climate change and habitat alteration by humans.

 

In 2012, serious concerns about BC’s draft wolf management plan were put forward during the short public comment period that followed its release. In less than 3 weeks, more than half of the >3,000 comments submitted expressed strong opposition to the draft plan which ultimately legitimized the systematic killing of wolves.

 

When the final plan was released in 2014, it ignored the public’s concerns about inhumane wolf killing practices and the impacts of killing programs on wolf social structure and ecosystem integrity. The draft plan was not peer reviewed by external ecologists.

 

From 2015 – 2018, caribou recovery programs have seen a minimum of 557 wolves shot from helicopters or slowly strangled in killing snares. A BC FOIP request has been delayed that would reveal the number of wolves killed during this past fiscal year. As each wolf family is wiped out, dispersing wolves will recolonize an area and perpetuate an annual cycle of killing.

 

“Thousands of individual wolves will suffer if this plan isn’t changed,” says Sadie Parr, Executive Director of conservation group Wolf Awareness. “The long-term repercussions this will have on the natural environment are being neglected, as are the consequences it will have on individual wolves and wolf populations. This is a slippery slope, wet with wolf blood.”

 

Aerial shooting is not an approved method under Canada's current guidelines on Approved Animal Care. Biologists agree that neck killing snares, also used in tax-funded wolf kill programs underway, are also inhumane and lack the ability to bring about a swift death.

 

“The morality of causing harm to hundreds of animals for any reason should be questioned. Are we prepared to spend the next several decades shooting wolves from helicopters in a vain attempt to maintain small herds of caribou in degraded habitat? Is that what conservation biology has become?” asks Hannah Barron, Conservation Director at Wolf Awareness.

 

“Canada is being frowned upon internationally for its weak species at risk protection, dodging timely and adequate climate change legislation, and continuing recklessly with unsustainable forestry practices that contribute to both of the aforementioned. By accepting a caribou recovery plan that engages in an unethical and highly controversial wolf kill program, our country will become a leading example of how to break down Nature’s resiliency by destroying the very systems that provide ecological, economic and cultural benefits to those who call Canada home. Instead, we should embrace and protect what is one of the last remaining global strongholds for large apex predators, and all other species that rely on their ability to thrive,” states Elke van Breemen, Education Director at Wolf Awareness.

 

“Engaging now is about more than caribou and wolves. It’s also about how we relate to all non-human animals and the living environment that sustains us. It’s about the Natural legacy we are leaving, or perhaps stealing from future generations. We can, and must, do better,” says Parr.

 

-- 30 --

 

Photos of wolves, caribou and habitat available upon request.

For Media Inquiries

Sadie Parr    Executive Director

Wolf Awareness Inc.

T 250.272.HOWL (4695)

E sadie@wolfawareness.org 

W wolfawareness.org

About Wolf Awareness Inc.
 

Wolf Awareness is a team of conservationists and scientists whose primary goal is to foster awareness and appreciation of wolves, wolf ecology, conservation and co-existence.

 
 

More than Just Numbers
Legislative Petition Seeks Immediate End to Tax-funded Inhumane Wolf Kill Program in British Columbia

 

November 26, 2018 (GOLDEN, BC) - On November 23rd,  CBC reported the BC forest ministry saying that caribou herds are stabilizing where wolves are being killed.  But conservation group Wolf Awareness urges people to ask more questions about the program, asserting that the ends don’t justify the means.

On November 20th, Wolf Awareness was one of two NGO’s from B.C.’s Columbia-River- Revelstoke constituency that saw a Petition to End the Wolf Kill Program submitted into Legislature during a meeting of the Assembly.

The petition was submitted in an appeal to prevent the inhumane program from re-starting this winter and ultimately to remove predator killing from the toolbox of options being considered as new recovery plans are being developed for caribou.

Killing is NOT conservation, states Sadie Parr, Executive Director of Wolf Awareness.  It’s not just about whether it works, but whether it is even conscionable to begin with.  Attempting to sanctify killing large numbers of predators for any reason is highly disturbing. I strongly believe that ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’.

Parr claims that there is a critical moral dilemma not being addressed regarding the killing of wolves (and other animals) under the guise of conservation, especially when humans have put caribou in this situation, and continue to wreak havoc for the species.

Tax Payers Petition B.C.’s Inhumane Wolf Kill Program

Millions of tax dollars have been spent since 2015 to kill more than five hundred wolves - sentient animals - using inhumane methods; namely aerial gunning and killing neck snares, both which lead to prolonged suffering before death.  Petitioners from across the province don’t want to see their taxes funding this inhumane program, explains Parr. 

Dr. Paul Paquet, an ecologist and recognized authority on mammalian carnivores’ states: The time has come to seriously examine our relation with top predators. The question is not whether killing wolves is "sustainable" as wildlife managers are always trying to assert. The question is whether it is ecologically, ethically, or even economically defensible to kill large numbers of predators anywhere. The answer on all counts is no.

The South Selkirk caribou herd became functionally extinct despite four years of killing wolves. The remaining animals are being moved to north of Revelstoke in Mountain Caribou Recovery Planning Unit 3A, where tax-funded wolf killing is slated to continue this winter as well as in the South Peace.

The petition is also seeking real protection for identified caribou habitat. 29 wolves were killed in the Revelstoke unit the past two winters, while industry and recreation continued to carve up caribou range, trumping species preservation and ecosystem health in a morally bankrupt display that may tarnish British Columbia’s “natural and wild” legacy forever.

Years of ‘talk and log’ consultations have turned into ‘talk and kill’, as industry continues unchecked, notes Parr.  Meanwhile, there are permit applications and projects underway for resource extraction that will further degrade and destroy the land that caribou require to survive

 

Wildlife management and conservation practices should be ecologically and ethically sound. Wolf killing programs are neither and as such should be abandoned, Parr reflects, referring to the Policy Position on Experimental wolf reduction programs underway in western Canada the conservation group recently developed in light of this practice expanding.

 

- 30 -

Photos of wolves, caribou and habitat available upon request.

 

 

Key Information:

Lack of caribou habitat protected in Revelstoke leads to wolf killing: 

https://www.revelstokereview.com/opinion/letter-protect-habitat-dont-kill-wolves-to-save-caribou/  

 

New industrial development in area identified as caribou habitat:

Columbia Caribou Range: Imperial Metals mine developing in headwaters of Upper Seymour Provincial Park which is caribou migratory route and near the maternal pen project.

https://www.imperialmetals.com/projects/ruddock-creek/overview

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/up_seymour/

 

 

Revelstoke mayor tells media does not want to protect caribou habitat because it will hurt the economy:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/caribou-protection-plan-threatens-revelstoke-economy-1.4704283


 

Before the wolf kill expanded to Revelstoke in 2017, scientists involved in caribou recovery admitted in a Government planning document: In Planning Unit 3A, forest harvesting still occurs in the critical habitat of Southern Mountain Caribou.  Mechanized recreation is listed as an additional concern affecting caribou.  Document also states there are no humane methods to directly reduce wolf numbers.
-Note: also details the plan to continue "primary prey reduction"...ie. killing moose, deer, etc. as well as wolves and cougars. 

 
Wolf Awareness Policy Position on Experimental wolf reduction programs underway in western Canada: https://www.wolfawareness.org/policy

 

 


 

For Media Inquiries

Sadie Parr  -  Executive Director

Wolf Awareness Inc.

T 250.272.HOWL (4695)

E sadie@wolfawareness.org 

W wolfawareness.org

About Wolf Awareness Inc.
 

Wolf Awareness is a team of conservationists and scientists whose primary goal is to foster awareness and appreciation of wolves, wolf ecology, conservation and co-existence.

BC wolf killing program starts again with collaring of Judas wolves
Government plans to kill all wolves in 3 caribou ranges where habitat destruction continues

 

November 13, 2017 (GOLDEN, BC) - A new government report revealed by the BC Government indicates that the minimum death toll has increased by 108 wolves to a total of 402 killed in the province’s experiment under the guise of caribou conservation.  The report also states that radio-collaring efforts begin in the fall to later allow tracking of wolves back to their families in an attempt to kill as many wolves as possible during winter. The program has entered its 4th year.

“The fact that the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development continues to collar “Judas” wolves is representative of the inhumane and unethical way in which the province continues to manage wildlife. Knowing that collaring occurs in fall for this intent identifies that the killing process has begun again.” Tommy Knowles, Executive Director of Wildlife Defence League states.

BC began its misguided experimental wolf reduction program in late 2014. Last year, the killing expanded beyond the existing South Peace and South Selkirk locations, to include a 3rd area around the Revelstoke caribou maternity pen.

The government report, titled Wolf Management Plan for Caribou Summary Year Three (2016-17) FINAL, makes the following claim: “Based on the success observed at the Klinse Za maternity pen arising from wolf removal in that herd area, aerial wolf removal was started for the Revelstoke maternity pen.” Yet the results from these experiments are questionable, and part of the public support behind the Revelstoke maternity pens included a move away from predator kill programs.

Hannah Barron, conservation director of Wolf Awareness remarks, “Millions of tax dollars are funding this unethical experiment to kill wolves under the guise of conserving caribou all the while pretending that enough caribou habitat has been protected from resource extraction and recreation.”

Recommendations made by scientists in 2007 to preserve 34,000 ha of high suitability habitat for caribou recovery in the Revelstoke Planning Unit were whittled down to only 10,000 ha. Subsequently, using a loop hole in the Revelstoke Land Use Plan, almost 10,000 ha of Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs) were permitted to be logged to compensate timber licensees for the protected caribou habitat.

“Virtually zero habitat in the Revelstoke Planning Unit was protected for caribou in the last Recovery Plan,” states Virginia Thompson, Revelstoke resident and member of the Mountain Caribou Project from 2006 to 2014.

Recently, a representative of BC’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development explained that “ideally all wolves will be taken.”

“We need to re-examine an old sentiment still being perpetuated by government wildlife managers and even some scientists that killing wolves is of no conservation concern because they are abundant and resilient. The natural ability of wolves to repopulate when exploited does not excuse our butchery of them, and it does not release our responsibility to protect and preserve ecological functions, which are down-ratcheted with the removal of apex predators,” Wolf Awareness executive director, Sadie Parr, remarks.

“We are amid a renaissance period as societies and nations determine how best to deal with a biodiversity collapse as well as climate change. Canadians need to re-evaluate what is underway. Squandering large carnivores and biodiverse old-growth forests where caribou live are not effective ways to preserve caribou herds that are already dangerously low,” Parr adds.

Many independent scientists vehemently oppose wolf kill programs, not only because methods are often inhumane, but because predator culling is an unreliable method of increasing prey populations and can result in a decrease in the overall diversity of plant and animal species.

 

- 30 -

Photos of wolves, caribou and habitat available upon request.

 

 

Key Information:

 

Wolf Management Plan for Caribou Summary Year Three – 2016-17 – FINAL – August 28, 29017


Wolf Awareness Policy Position on Experimental wolf reduction programs underway in western Canada: https://www.wolfawareness.org/policy

 

 


 

 

For Media Inquiries

Sadie Parr  -  Executive Director

Wolf Awareness Inc.

T 250.272.HOWL (4695)

E sadie@wolfawareness.org 

W wolfawareness.org

About Wolf Awareness Inc.
 

Wolf Awareness is a team of conservationists and scientists whose primary goal is to foster awareness and appreciation of wolves, wolf ecology, conservation and co-existence.