Stakeholders are voicing differing viewpoints in the battle over whether or not the government should continue B.C.’s controversial wolf cull program.
The province began the program in 2015 to protect declining caribou populations from predators. Since the program began, over 1,000 wolves have been killed. The province is now looking to extend the program for another five years.
Pacific Wild is a B.C. based conservation group arguing that the program is illegal. Pacific Wild cites studies, like one recently published in the Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation found that the program has had no tangible impact on caribou populations and instead threaten’s B.C.’s wolf populations. They argue that habitat restoration is the only way to ensure the continued survival of caribou.
The group recently delivered a petition with 500,000 signatures demanding the provincial government end the wolf cull. Nearly 70,000 of those signatures were from British Columbians.
However, the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia disputes Pacific Wild’s claims that the wolf cull has been unsuccessful.
Scott Ellis, executive director of Guide Outfitters Association, agrees that the best outcome for B.C. caribou is to restore the habitat that sustains them, but argues that in the meantime predator reduction is the best option to protect herds.
In a press release, Ellis said that theories such as primary prey reduction, which contends that wolves will lose interest in an area if their primary prey sources are reduced, does little to protect caribou.
“There is too much focus on primary prey reduction and not enough on habitat protection, habitat restoration, and predator management.”
Both Pacific Wild and the Guide Outfitters Association are urging the public to educate themselves about the efficacy of predator management programs in B.C. and take the government’s online survey on wildlife management and caribou recovery.
The survey closes on Nov. 15.
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