Yesterday, the B.C. government unveiled its Draft Wolf Management Plan. Beginning with a misspelled scientific name Canis lupis (Lupis is an incurable human disease) rather than lupus in the title, this wolf plan goes on to outline a barbaric and grim future for B.C. wolves that amounts to a government sponsored kill program.
Sifting through the document it is generally difficult to ascertain the objective of the plan but it becomes clear closer to the end under section 7: Current Management Framework. Here the future direction of B.C. wolf management policy is split into two zones. One zone, (where livestock predation is an issue) is to encourage extermination of wolves by all means and “includes year-round open seasons and/or no bag limits, and in some cases targeted removal of individuals or packs.” The second zone describes wolf management as “primarily concerned with providing hunting and trapping opportunities with controls on harvest through specified season lengths and bag limits”.
The plan is full of discussion on the “harvesting” of wolves, as if they are some kind of crop like wheat or barley. It further states the lofty objective to “…ensure self-sustaining populations throughout the species range.” But what does this mean for wolves in this province when the government reports that more than 34% of a wolf population can be harvested “sustainably”.
There is no discussion of quality of life for wolves and of what it actually means to disrupt the social bond of a pack or extended family with trapping, hunting, poisoning, aerial killing and other means legally employed to kill wolves in B.C. The evolutionary impact of reduced genetic diversity in wolf populations that are forced to suffer such high levels of human caused mortality is also not discussed in this plan.
Under section 7.1.1 titled Harvest Management, the plan refers to “…ethics such as fair chase and humane treatment are recognized.” Recognized? How about enforced, but then it would be pretty difficult to have an ethical leg hold trap or a bait station laced with poison. Killing wolves by helicopter is cited as the most humane alternative. It appears the B.C. government would rather “recognize” ethics but not actually enforce such a policy.
The plan goes on to recognize that B.C. already has the most relaxed policies when it comes to humans killing wolves. “Hunting seasons are long and there is no species license required for residents to hunt wolves.” Note: B.C. resident hunters have to purchase a special license to hunt deer, geese and many other species – wolves require no mandatory reporting and no special license. Under section 7.1.1, it goes on to state that “There is no age/sex restriction for hunting wolves…” This means that any B.C. resident can legally kill pups, pregnant females with out mandatory reporting. Already, the B.C. government has opened up huge parts of the province to open season, year-round hunting without any limit to the amount of wolves killed. 2009 recorded a province-wide record for the amount of wolves killed by hunting and trapping.
The way this draft plan is structured, unless significant public opposition is mobilized in the coming weeks, the B.C. government will further relax and liberalize wolf hunting, trapping and other kill programs for years to come.
Pacific Wild will be following this issue and speaking out for wolves as what is clearly shaping up to be a renewed government-sanctioned assault on B.C.’s wolves.
Public comments on the draft plan are being accepted until Dec 5th, 2012.
Please write to:
Hon. Terry Lake
BC Minister of Environment
PO Box 9047 STN Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
PS. Cc your letters to media outlets and to Pacific Wild.