BY BOB ZIMMER
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP
Just days before the signing of the caribou partnership agreement that has put access to our backcountry into question, a group called Pacific Wild publicly released their cease and desist letter to the BC Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development demanding the end of the province’s ‘wolf cull.’
I find it unbelievable that Pacific Wild could make such a demand when studies have shown that predator reduction has helped to increase caribou populations in our area.
Darcy Peel, Director of the BC Caribou Recovery Program, wrote in a August 2019 memo that: “Wolf reduction has been used over the last five years in the Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou resulting in a shift from an average rate of decline of 15 per cent per year to an average of 15 per cent increase per year.”
In addition, a large-scale study released last year of 18 caribou herds across British Columbia and Alberta found that in areas where wolves were culled, caribou populations stabilized or increased in eight of 12 herds. Populations continued to decline in six herds where there was no predator removal.
This begs the question: Why would the province do away with a program that has proven to be effective in increasing the caribou population?
I think it’s also important to note that Pacific Wild lists Tides Canada, an organization well-known for financing anti-natural resource sector campaigns, as one of its partners on its website. It also considers the Liberal government’s rejection of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project one of its key successes.
I am tired anti-energy activist groups, who have little to no understanding of our local way of life or how these decisions will affect our livelihoods, believing that they know what is best for our region.
Decisions like whether to continue with the wolf reduction program should be based on science and involve our local leaders, including local caribou and wildlife experts.
The science is clear – the wolf reduction program is working as it was intended to.