‘It’s shameful, it’s horrifying’: B.C. conservationists call for end to controversial wolf cull

June 21, 2024 in News by RBN Staff


So, they can’t figure out if they love the alpha predator wolves, or the caribou. Thanks, Canada.
The Northern United States


Source: GlobalNews.ca

Conservationists are once again calling for an end to B.C.’s controversial annual wolf cull, saying it is cruel and unnecessary.

Every year the B.C. government hires contractors to kill hundreds of wolves to help save the dwindling caribou herds. Most of the wolves are shot from helicopters.

The program started in 2015. The Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship told Global News Thursday that 280 wolves were killed this past winter and more than 1,700 have been killed since the program started.

Advocate and activist Sadie Parr said she became aware of the wolf cull in B.C. around 2007, which she said was being done “under the guise of caribou recovery.

“But the fact of the matter is, we’re still destroying caribou habitat to this day.”

Parr said it was in 2015 that the aerial gunning of wolves began in the province after the B.C. Wolf Management Plan was released a year earlier.

“So it’s been seven or eight consecutive years of winter aerial gunning programs that have expanded over that time.”

Parr has spent years investigating the program and among the many things about it that disturb her is the so-called Judas Wolf technique. This involves capturing a wolf in a net and putting a radio collar on it to lead government-contracted shooters back to its pack so they can be killed.

“Most often wolves are captured, one wolf will be captured, it might be ground-trapping or it might be net-trapped from a helicopter and this wolf is immobilized and a radio collar is placed around it,” Parr said.

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“The wolf is not killed at the time, it’s kept alive and it’s later in the winter months when the wolf returns to the rest of its family that contracted shooters hired from the government will come in using aircraft to follow the signal on the collar.

“They’re hoping that the wolf at that point is with the rest of its family. If it has joined up with the rest of its family the contractors will shoot down every single wolf in that area other than the one wolf that’s radio-collared. That’s usually identified with an ear tag so they can keep that wolf alive.”

Parr said this would no doubt be very distressing for the wolves. They are running for their lives; they could be hit with multiple bullets and wounded and take hours to die in agony.

“And then that one wolf, it’s often called the ‘Judas Wolf’, would be left alive for the next year,” she said.

“Wolves are social animals. It’s going to try and regroup and start a new family only to have the very same thing happen to any wolf it befriends the next year.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. wolf cull look back'

B.C. wolf cull look back

In a statement to Global News the Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship said this method “provides data to government biologists about wolf movements and pack territories and helps facilitate the removal of packs during winter wolf reduction efforts. The removal of packs within treatment areas is critical to supporting caribou survival.”

Adam Olsen, the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and a member of the BC Green Party called the wolf cull program a “colossal and cruel policy failure.

“The reality of it is we’re not managing the landscape at all in this province,” Olsen said. “Our logging practices are incredibly destructive, that we’re still clear-cutting entire mountainsides. This is threatening caribou and many other species.”

Olsen added the government is reluctant to bring about biodiversity legislation and poor landscape management in the province has led to the culling of wolves, which he said is a “terrible thing to think about.

“The ultimate enemy of the caribou is human beings. We are unapologetically destroying their habitat. We apologize to the wolves for having to kill them because we’ve exposed the caribou and made them too easy to hunt for wolf packs but we are absolutely the greatest threat to the caribou and to several other species.”

The Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship said “predator reduction aids caribou recovery and is based on science and sound wildlife management principles.

“The decision to reduce predator populations is not taken lightly. It requires an adaptive management approach, with high standards for scientific rigour and the use of humane methods.”

The group Pacific Wild has also sued the province, arguing the program is unlawful.

A ruling is expected in early June.

“I really don’t believe that killing has anything to do with conservation,” Parr said.

“This really puts a stain on B.C. and on Canada, this program should never have begun in the first place….It’s shameful, it’s horrifying, it’s embarrassing, and it really needs to end.”