November 20, 2012
Please Help Protect British Columbia's Wolves
- Machine-gunning wolf packs from helicopters to protect caribou
- Increased killing of wolves to protect cattle on private and public land
- No place in BC where wolves will be protected to live a natural pack life
- No designated areas for wildlife viewing and scientific research
THIS WILL BECOME GOVERNMENT POLICY UNLESS ENOUGH PEOPLE OBJECT
Public input deadline is December 5th for this Draft B.C. wolf management plan. It's easy to submit your comments at:
The draft Wolf Management Plan was released on November 14, and the deadline for public input is December 5. There is now a little more than 2 weeks to respond. You can download it from the government website link above. But for those who don't have the time to read and digest 49 pages of material, we offer this brief analysis.
The preamble of the draft Management Plan admits that wolves play a key role in healthy ecosystems, that 11 years of killing wolves in caribou habitat has not resulted in more caribou, and that current figures for wolf populations are unreliable. It speaks of maintaining balance between conservation of wolves and killing them, and claims the goal of ensuring "self-sustaining populations" of wolves.
Yet the Plan clearly intends:
1. Increased killing of wolves across BC, especially where livestock issues arise.
2. Intensified killing of whole wolf packs under the pretext of saving mountain caribou.
3. Embedding hunter and rancher lobby groups in partnership with BC's Conservation Officer (CO) Service. The government has made severe budget and staff cuts to the CO service, now this is the next step: putting vested interests in control of managing our wildlife.
The report further states that killing wolves from helicopters is the most efficient and "humane" way to go about protecting caribou. Let's be really honest: allowing ranchers to have open season on wolves and shooting whole packs from helicopters with automatic weapons takes us back to the ignorant, cruel days when wolves were called "vermin" and viewed as rats to be killed anywhere, any time, by anybody. And despite the talk of "balance", the draft plan offers no management actions to recognize other values of wolves such as their intrinsic worth as intelligent, highly social animals that provide critical ecosystem function. Also, no mention of their value in providing world class tourism and wildlife viewing opportunities.
This draft Plan would enshrine the government's War on Wolves in formal policy: a policy based on scapegoating wolves for problems caused by people; a policy that would continue our cultural misbeliefs that constant shooting and trapping of wolves is the only way to treat them.
Already, more wolves are being killed than at any time since kills began to be recorded in 1976.
According to the draft Plan, the number of recorded kills hit an all-time high for that period during 2011, with 1,400 wolves killed. This number is very conservative because there is no mandatory reporting for BC residents that kill wolves.
1. Extend the deadline for public input to January 30, 2013.
2. Set aside large areas of the province where wolves are protected from any killing, so that wolves can develop natural packs and behaviour, which will provide benchmarks for scientific research and as areas where people can watch wolves.
3. NO helicopter killing of wolves.
4. NO leg hold traps or snares.
5. By the draft Plan's own admissions, 11 years of killing wolves to save caribou have not increased caribou. These programs have failed and should be stopped.
6. The government has acknowledged that the chief reason for mountain caribou decline is loss of habitat. A secondary reason is snowmobiling and heli-skiing in winter habitat. To save caribou the government should 1) stop logging old-growth forest in mountain caribou range, 2) ban snowmobiles from winter range (current bans are inadequate and not enforced), and 3) roads built in caribou range need to be obliterated to prevent easy access by predators.
7. Return to former species license, quotas, bag limits, restricted seasons, and mandatory reporting of kills for hunting wolves.
8. Continue government programs for compensating ranchers for losses to wild predators.
9. Fund an adequate Conservation Officer Service. The Conservation Officer Service should not partner with vested interests such as ranchers.
10. Practice prevention by providing education and incentives to improve protection with fences, guard dogs, shepherds, etc.
Time is running out, please support BC wolves and provide comment here:
Copy your letters to Pacific Wild – info @pacificwild.org and media contacts. Visit www.pacificwild.org for more background on plan.