Killing wolves won’t save the caribou

Killing wolves won’t save the caribou

Editor, The Times

Editor, The Times:

We now live in “the Sixth Great Extinction,” distinguished by the greatest loss of biological species since the disappearance of the dinosaur. Sadly, 99 per cent of today’s species-at-risk are endangered due to human activity, particularly habitat loss.

In this light, consider the BC government’s plan to rescue the mountain caribou by killing wolves. The Horgan government has even been so bold as to send its messengers out to sell this plan to unwary members of the public

To give credit where credit is due, it takes a good bit of pseudoscience to develop this sophistry to the point where it can fool, at least, some of the people. However, Big Industry and its “think tanks” are always ready to lend a hand. The government plans to kill 80 per cent of the wolves in the so-called “caribou recovery areas.”

Never mind that informed observers say, repeatedly, that logging, resource development, road building, and motorized recreation are the real causes of the caribou’s decline.

Nature isn’t as simple as government and industry would have us believe. More finesse is required — a lot more than spending $47 million for airborne snipers, to take down the wolves.

In the Spiti Valley of Northern India, things are very different. At issue was the survival of a local predator, the Snow Leopard. Let’s face it, the snow leopard can be a pest where Himalayan villagers are concerned. In the Spiti, these villagers wreak a living from a high elevation desert environment, which is no easy job.

Typically, they cultivate fields in the valley bottom. They also raise sheep, donkeys and other domestic species. Hungry snow leopards can interfere, but the villagers and conservation groups knew that action was required. The Buddhist culture of the Spiti embraces compassion toward all creatures, particularly those in distress. Buddhists frown on killing.

Harkayee Treasure Hunt calls hikers to Wells Gray

In the Spiti, women do most of the agricultural work. It was they who expressed the greatest concern for the plan because restoring the snow leopard population required a reduction in cultivated land. This was needed to provide more food for the Blue Sheep, which is at the top of the snow leopard’s menu. Negotiation was required.

In the end, the blue sheep got more pasture, the leopards got more blue sheep and the villagers also got benefits to offset the reduction in cropland. They got more organizational support, crop insurance and, the women got help in the making and selling of handicrafts. The animals flourished. Tourism, based on snow leopard observation, created jobs for the youth, as guides. The result was a win-win for everyone, all due to saving the leopard.

Predators, like wolves and snow leopards, are an essential part of healthy ecosystems. Enhancing their numbers may seem counter-intuitive, rarely appealing to a knee-jerk response, but ensuring the healthy numbers of these animals can be done without compromising other species, as long as the real causes of population decline are dealt with.

In this period of species extinction, the BC government has to stop killing wolves. It has to quit being an industry puppet and it has to address the real causes of caribou decline and take appropriate action.

David Simms,

Clearwater, BC

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Probe into TNRD spending taken over by federal police unit

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Stolen truck found broken down on Highway 97C, Williams Lake suspect arrested near Ashcroft

A security guard first noticed the truck, and thought it looked suspicious

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Most Read