Grey wolves in Alberta are exposed to lethal threats from every angle, including aerial gunning from helicopters, choking neck-snares, and poison-baits that lure wolves and many other species to their excruciating deaths. Alberta's liberal hunting and trapping regulations assure that the devastation of wolf families occurs nearly year-round.
The senseless killing of Cecil the lion has catalyzed a worldwide discussion about the gratuitous trophy hunting of large carnivores. In Western Canada, countless "Cecils" are killed in an equally senseless manner each and every year for the amusement, pleasure and excitement of recreational hunters.
This wolf cull is a consequence of industrial logging and other human activity, which have transformed the caribou's habitat into a landscape that can no longer provide the food, cover, and security these animals need to survive. Rather than address the real problem, i.e., the destruction of life sustaining caribou habitat, the B.C. government has chosen to scapegoat wolves.
The next morning everything changes. A hunting guide has arrived and anchored his boat next to us. Even though this area is part of a provincial park, the wolves have no protection. In B.C., it's legal to kill a wolf regardless of age and sex. After weeks of longing for the wolves to show themselves I am now praying that they stay hidden in the forest.
Brad Hill, a wildlife photographer and biologist from the Columbia Valley, discovered that the province has been placing wolf neck snares on Crown land near his home. Hill located 18 snares near a bait pile of road-killed elk and mule deer, designed to draw wolves into the area. Snares are the most inhumane, legally allowed traps in use.
"Perhaps the most important part of our "Draft Management Plan For Humans In British Columbia" is to minimize the threat to wolf safety caused by humans. Whereas wolves pose a very limited threat to humans, the opposite is certainly not true. For instance, the B.C. government says that approximately 1,200 of us wolves were killed deliberately in 2010 by hunters and trappers for sport, trophy or profit."
Despite rhetoric about conservation, the main thrust of B.C.'s wolf management plan is clearly killing predators with the goal of reducing predator impacts on huntable species like moose, elk and deer, plus contributing to a presumed reduction in livestock conflicts on public lands. Any rational review of the impact of wolves on B.C.'s hunting opportunities, as well as livestock industry, would demonstrate that there is no "problem" in need of solving. Rationality, however, long ago ceased to be the currency of wildlife management policy in B.C.
One endangered herd in Alberta's tar sands region is at great risk of disappearing. Clear-cutting and no-holds-barred oil and gas exploration and development have affected more than 60 per cent of the habitat of the Red Earth caribou herd, leaving little undisturbed forest where it can feed, breed, and roam.
OTTAWA - Thousands of wolves stand to be killed in Alberta as part of the federal government's new plan to sustain caribou in the oilsands area, envir...