01/22/2015 01:38 EST | Updated 03/24/2015 05:59 EDT

Wolf cull will go ahead says Natural Resources Minister Steve Thompson

The B.C. government is standing by its decision to cull wolves in the B.C. interior, despite opposition from conservationists.

Last week, the government announced it would shoot up to 184 wolves in the South Selkirk Mountains and the South Peace as part of "immediate action" to save the dwindling caribou herds in those regions.

"The evidence points to the fact that predation on those herds was a significant factor," B.C.'s Minister of Natural Resources Steve Thompson told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"[That evidence has] come from inventories from work, from collaring, from monitoring. 37 per cent of the adult mortalities in the south Peace have been documented as wolf predation."

Ian McAllister, conservation director for Pacific Wild, condemned the wolf cull, saying the target on wolves was off the mark.

"While the government is not moving forward to protect adequate amounts of habitat to save the caribou, they're instead using wolves as a scapegoat and planning just a horrific level of aerial killing in the coming months," he said.

Thompson said there have been measures to protect caribou habitat and to develop management objectives to strengthen herds.

"Despite all of these efforts, the herds are in decline and immediate action was needed and was taken," he said.