Environmental protection advocacy group Pacific Wild has condemned the province’s recent decision to extend British Columbia’s wolf cull another five years.
The cull was put in place in 2015 as a method of reversing, then-declining caribou populations. Over 1,400 wolves in B.C. have been killed since, according to the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“The science indicates that reducing wolf densities in caribou areas is one of few short-term options that will effectively reduce declining caribou populations to prevent their extirpation,” the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said through a spokesperson. “Having already lost multiple herds in the Southern Group, these measures allow us to prevent further losses.”
The extension of the cull was announced on Jan. 27. Nearly two weeks prior on Jan. 14, the province had released a survey titled Predator Reduction for Caribou Recovery Engagement, which showed 59 per cent of respondents opposed to the wolf cull program.
“The clear intent (of the cull) is to continue the needless scapegoating and killing of wolves instead of taking essential steps of protecting intact old-growth forests for endangered caribou while ensuring fossil fuel industries do not access and fragment this habitat further,” said Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild conservation advisor.
“By safeguarding and restoring caribou habitat, B.C. would be doing its part in mitigating climate change while also protecting the full suite of predator-prey relationships that are being destroyed through short-term greed.”
Pacific Wild and other advocacy organizations have taken the province to court over the cull. One case claims that contracting civilians to hunt wolves from helicopters violates federal laws pertaining to firearms on aircraft.
“Nearly $2 million in taxpayer dollars were spent in 2019 and 2020 to kill 463 wolves, averaging $4,300 per wolf,” said Laurie McConnel, campaigner for Pacific Wild. “(Premier John) Horgan’s favouritism to the forestry industry and wasteful spending amidst ongoing extinction threats to B.C.’s wildlife is extremely concerning. The government’s approach to this issue needs to change now.”
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