The Golden-based group, Wolf Awareness, is calling on wolf lovers to write to Premier Christy Clark, MLA Norm Macdonald and other provincial leaders in protest over a recently announced plan to shot wolves from helicopter.
The provincial government announced last Thursday, January 15, that it will sanction the slaying of up to 184 wolves. It said in a statement that campaign is intended to help save endangered mountain caribou populations in the South Selkirk and South Peace regions.
“The South Selkirk herd is at high risk of local extinction,” the government statement said. “The population has declined from 46 caribou in 2009 to 27 in 2012, and to 18 as of March 2014. Evidence points to wolves being the leading cause of mortality.
The South Selkirk is a trans-boundary herd, and caribou move freely between BC, Washington and Idaho. Canadian and Amrican officials in conjunction with First Nations tribes “have been working together on a research project and have collared six of the remaining 18 caribou to help investigate the cause of decline.” Noting that wolves have killed two of the remaining caribou (11% of the herd) in the past 10 months provincial staff claim that removing “up to 24 wolves by shooting them from a helicopter before snow melt” will help save that herd
In four caribou herds in the South Peace (Quintette, Moberly, Scott and Kennedy-Siding), populations are also decreasing and the BC government maintains that wolves are a key factor. At least 37% of all adult mortalities have been documented as wolf predation, the statement said.
Working in partnership with Treaty 8 First Nations, the ministry’s goal is to remove up to 120-160 wolves in the South Peace, again by shooting them from a helicopter before snow melt. Caribou populations in a larger South Peace herd (Graham) will be monitored, but receive no predator control measures, in order to allow for comparison on the effectiveness of the program.
Hunting and trapping of wolves have not effectively reduced populations and may even split up packs and increase predation rates on caribou. Habitat recovery continues to be an important part of caribou recovery, but cannot address the critical needs of these herds in the short term
Wolf Awareness disputes the effectiveness of an aerial hunt.
“A sad reality is that mountain caribou are on their way out because of what people have already done. Caribou are in this situation because of us, not because of wolves,” said a statement from the 27-year-old group that was sent to The Revelstoke Current. “We have allowed the province and industry to destroy the habitat that caribou require. We have been watching this discussion take place for the past 50 years and allowing activities to continue in critical habitat.”
It is asking sympathizers to write letters of protest to:
The Honourable Christy Clark
PO Box 9041, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1
The Honourable Steve Thomson
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
PO Box 9049, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
Copies of their letters should also be forwarded to:
MLA Norm Macdonald, NDP Environment Critic
Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver
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