Our Reasons for Opposing the B.C. Government’s Wolf Kill Program
Wolves play an important role as apex predators & ecosystem engineers.
The government’s decision to scapegoat wolves represents a failure to protect and restore old-growth forest habitat required for mountain caribou to recover to healthy populations. Caribou depend on old-growth for food, shelter, and safety from predators. This habitat has been fragmented and destroyed by industrial logging, oil and gas exploration, and recreational activity (snowmobiling, heliskiing, cat skiing). The truth is, that unless the government takes immediate action to stop development of old-growth forests in critical caribou habitat, caribou herds will not rebound, with or without the cull.
Wolves hold a special, spiritual connection to First Nations.
“They are our relatives, revered as sacred. We have coexisted with wolves for millennia and they are deeply entrenched in our lifeways and belief systems; they are part of our ceremonies, regalia, and stories. Wolves are also a keystone species whose demise creates imbalance that ripples across critical ecosystems.”
— Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC)
The majority of the public opposes the wolf kill program.
The B.C. government surveyed 15,196 individuals in 2021. 98% felt that caribou recovery is important and 59% were opposed to the wolf cull. Habitat protection, restoration, and management practices were ranked as the top three recovery actions to save endangered caribou. The government chose to ignore these sentiments by quietly renewing the cull for five years in early 2022.
Source: Predator Reduction for Caribou Recovery Engagement Survey (BC MFLNRO)
The program has cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
To date, nearly 1,500 wolves have been killed through the wolf cull program since 2015. In the last three years alone, the program has cost taxpayers over $4.2 million dollars–an average of $4,800 per wolf.
Shooting wolves from helicopters is inhumane.
Shooting wolves from helicopters is an inhumane method of killing and many of these wolves are left wounded to die in the snow.
Currently, there is no public oversight of the wolf killing operation and civilian gunmen are contracted by the government to shoot wolves from helicopters. B.C. is one of only two Canadian provinces that has not adopted the Canadian Council on Animal Care standards that guide the welfare and humane treatment of wild and domestic animals.
Wolves are highly-intelligent, social animals that live in dynamic family groups. The cull exposes wolves to traumatic instances where they watch pack members chased to exhaustion and shot from helicopters, as seen by the use of the “Judas Wolf” tactic.
The wolf kill program is unlawful.
A legal issue regarding the authority to cull wolves by aircraft being inappropriately given to regional managers under current Wildlife Act regulations is still before the courts. The majority of wolf culling has occurred via government-contracted civilians shooting from helicopters, which breaks federal aviation laws.