Conservationists will visit the British Columbia legislature Monday to present a petition opposing the provincial wolf cull to B.C.’s minister of forests.
Karen McAllister, interim executive director at Pacific Wild, said the group has gathered more than 500,000 signatures opposing the cull program, which was implemented to protect endangered caribou, and has killed more than 1,400 wolves over the past seven years.
“This cull has gone on far too long,” McAllister said in a statement. “One species should not be scapegoated for another. We need to see an end now to this short-sighted, dangerous approach by the provincial government.”
The group cited a recent study that found the program has had no detectable effect on reversing the decline of endangered caribou populations.
The decline in caribou, the group says, has been linked to habitat loss due to industrial activities including old-growth logging and road-building in sensitive caribou herd areas.
Research published earlier this year suggests that wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along.
Pacific Wild also says it is making progress on its legal challenge to the cull program, which includes the use of helicopters to hunt the animals.
“Our view is that the authority to cull wolves by aircraft has been inappropriately given to regional managers under current Wildlife Act regulations,” lawyer Rebeka Breder said in a statement. “The majority of wolf killings have occurred via government-contracted civilians shooting from helicopters, which we say also breaks federal aviation laws.”
— with files from The Canadian Press