04/16/2015 07:44 EDT | Updated 06/17/2015 05:59 EDT

84 Wolves Shot In 1st Year Of Controversial B.C. Cull Program

An initial estimate had hunters shooting as many as 184 wolves.

Guy Edwardes via Getty Images

VICTORIA - Helicopter hunters shot less than half of the wolves they were allowed to kill during the first year of a controversial B.C. government program to protect threatened caribou herds.

The cull began Jan. 15 in the South Selkirks and the South Peace regions of B.C. where the government says wolves preyed on herds with declining populations.

The province initially announced that government-contracted hunters would shoot as many as 184 wolves.

But the Forests Ministry says 11 wolves were shot in the South Selkirks and another 73 were killed in the South Peace when the hunt ended.

Ian McAllister of Pacific Wild has been critical of the hunt in the past, saying the real problem is habitat destruction and the cull is a taxpayer-funded program to kill an iconic species.

The ministry says the caribou population in the South Selkirks declined from 46 to 14 between 2009 and March 2015, and in the South Peace wolves account for 37 per cent of all adult caribou mortalities.


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