Caribou herds in Alberta and parts of British Columbia are nearing extinction. Environment Canada has unveiled a new plan to rebuild the dwindling herds in Alberta’s tar sands region. The primary suggestion is to cull their predators, the wolves.
Environment Minister Peter Kent’s remarks have been widely quoted: “Culling is an accepted if regrettable scientific practice and means of controlling populations and attempting to balance what civilization has developed. I’ve got to admit, it troubles me that that’s what is necessary to protect this species.”
As part of its attempt to rebuild the caribou population, Environment Canada will also allow more hunting of the deer and moose that share the habitat. But it is the proposed wolf cull that is causing the most controversy. Reporting in The Canadian Press, Heather Scoffield wrote: ”Environment Canada’s research shows that 100 wolves would need to die for every four caribou calves saved.”
This comes on the heels of news that British Columbia is allowing ranchers and First Nations communities in the province’s Cariboo region to kill wolves that might attack livestock. Once again, wolves will pay the price for problems caused by humans.
Wolf Photo from US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species via Flickr Creative Commons; Moose photograph by Robin Jarman, used with permission; Caribou photograph by Cathryn Wellner
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