Help end western Canada's Wolf Killing Programs under the guise of caribou recovery.
Wolves in Canada are running out of places to hide. Since 2005 in Alberta,more than 2,000 wolves have been killed under the guise of protecting Alberta’s Little Smoky Caribou herd in habitat 95% disturbed by oil and gas infrastructure.
Wolves were killed in strangling snares, gunned down from helicopters and poisoned with Strychnine. Numbers obtained from internal Alberta government documents reveal that snares killed a minimum of 676 other animals, including 2 caribou. There is no way to estimate how many non-target animals died of strychnine poisoning and associated actions. Wolves are poisoned using pieces of carrion laced with strychnine which are placed around elk and moose carcasses killed for draw-baits.
In both Alberta and British Columbia, wolves are chased by helicopters until they are exhausted, and then shot. In some killing programs, wolves are fitted with tracking radio collars to unwittingly betray the location of their packs when they return home. Entire wolf families are then chased and shot from the air.
The provinces have knowingly allowed industry to destroy caribou habitat for 50 years. Activities such as energy development, logging, mining and high-impact recreation continue in critical caribou habitat. As a consequence of our neglect, the government has sanctioned the killing of one species to save another.
Aerial Gunning and Killing Snares.
British Columbia announced plans to begin aerial gunning wolves in 2015, following suit from Alberta’s misguided lead that began in 2005. Both programs are being carried out under the guise of caribou conservation and funded by tax dollars. In 5 winters BC's inhumane killing program claimed more than 600 wolves; Alberta has now killed more than 2,000 wolves since 2005 in this "conservation" program. These numbers do no include wolf deaths from other 'mis'managment practices. Both programs have been expanding. Predator kill programs are ethically unacceptable, outdated & ineffective as a long-term solution. Critical caribou habitat is still being compromised by human use.
Watch this film about Alberta’s conservation dilemma in “Cry Wolf, An Unethical Oil Film” by DeSmogBlog.
In 2007, the province of BC released scientific recommendations for caribou habitat protection in the Revelstoke-Shuswap area in the Draft Mountain Caribou Recovery Strategy which included protecting 34,000 hectares. But for economic reasons, the government chose to protect less than 10,000 hectares.
In 2011, the government amended the Revelstoke Land Use Plan to allow timber companies to log a minimum of 6,000 hectares of old-growth forests to compensate for what they had lost to protection of caribou. Eventually, the recommended 34,000 hectares of provincially protected habitat that scientists deemed necessary to maintain and recover imperiled caribou declined to less than 4,000 hectares.
Where the caribou lost critical and life-sustaining habitat, the logging companies gained more timber to cut. Even B.C.’s Forest Practices Board admitted the new areas opened to logging would reduce and fragment the already inadequate habitat, making recovery of caribou unlikely.
Despite ongoing objections from worried NGOs co-operating in the Mountain Caribou Project, protected habitat was reduced year after year. Although never protecting sufficient habitat to support caribou in the long-term, the province’s caribou recovery plan is still portrayed by the government as a great conservation commitment approved at the expense of industrial interests.
This is also a question of animal welfare. The morality of causing harm to hundreds of intelligent and sensitive 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? Many areas that have been protected for caribou are not only small, but they are isolated. Small, isolated populations of caribou will likely be wiped out by disease outbreak, natural disasters or hard winters whether or not every wolf family in the area is scapegoated and killed.
Many scientists and conservationists have condemned the killing of wolves as an “inhumane”. But this time, the claim that the slaughter is inhumane is coming straight from the mouths of government researchers.
Written by two members of the Provincial Mountain Caribou Recovery Science Team, "Next Steps for Southern Mountain Caribou recovery in planning unit 3A,” provides a rationale for shooting wolves from helicopters in a southeastern part of the province known as the Revelstoke–Shuswap region. It would bring the total approved area for aerial gunning from two to three regions.
In the same breath however, the authors of the report concede: “There are no humane methods to directly reduce wolf numbers, but aerial removal is the only method of killing enough wolves (and entire packs) to reduce wolf densities with no risk of by-catch.”
We believe experimental wolf kill programs are unwarranted and unethical, and should be replaced with adequate habitat protection.
Dynamic timelapse video shows 34 years of clearcut landscape changes in British Columbia.
On the map below, simply type in an address or location, pan or zoom.
Google Earth Timelapse is a global, zoomable video that allows you to zoom in and see how the earth has changed over the last 34 years (1984-2018).
Check out the recent Timeline of BC Caribou and Wolf Mismanagement,1954-2018.
Read this article co-authored by Wolf Awareness and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation titled “Alberta Must Call a Truce on Wolves“.
Death by a Thousand Clearcuts, a website dedicated to the story now unfolding in the Upper Clearwater Valley of British Columbia regarding logging within federally designated Critical Habitat for Caribou near Wells Gray Park.
Use the Google Earth Time Lapse Tool to see the habitat changes that have occurred in these areas. Wolves have not caused these changes, we have. A question remains: even if we were willing to restore these areas, could they ever fully recover to what they once were?