Miley Cyrus makes surprise visit to B.C. as celebrities fight wolf cull
Singer Miley Cyrus made a visit to northern British Columbia this weekend, reiterating her opposition to the province’s controversial wolf cull.
Cyrus arrived in Klemtu on Friday after contacting the local conservation group Pacific Wild, which has launched a petition to end the cull, according to general manager of Spirit Bear Lodge Tim McGrady.
Pacific Wild executive director Ian McAllister took Cyrus and several Kitasoo/Xai'xais Nation youth on a boat trip, McGrady added, pictures of which have surfaced on social media.
“It was a beautiful sunny day in a beautiful estuary, and they took her out bear viewing, sang some traditional songs, and shared with Miley how important the bears and the wolves are to their culture and to their future,” he said.
In early September, Cyrus posted two images on her Instagram account protesting the province’s ongoing cull, which started last winter and is expected to continue for several years.
“I am shameless when it comes to making changes in a world that at times needs to reevaluate its morals when dealing with kindness and compassion towards animals,” Cyrus wrote. “We can’t let another winter pass us by without stopping this mass extermination!”
Cyrus also called on her 28 million Instagram followers to sign a Change.org petition calling for an end to the cull.
B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources has defended its five-year, $2.1 million wolf management program as a necessary measure to protect caribou herds, several of which are at risk of becoming extinct.
But Pacific Wild said it’s wrong to blame wolves for the caribou population’s decline. Instead, the group has accused the government of failing to protect and restore the caribou’s natural habitat, which it said has been destroyed by logging, mining and oil and gas exploration over decades.
Pacific Wild also takes issue with the province’s method of shooting wolves from helicopters, which was used to cull 84 wolves in the South Selkirks and South Peace regions from January to April this year. The province plans to increase the number of wolves it kills this winter in the second year of the cull.
Premier Christy Clark criticized Cyrus shortly after her Instagram post, saying the singer doesn't know anything about the reasons behind B.C.'s wolf cull and suggesting she stick to twerking instead of interfering with the province's environmental policies.
The premier lashed out a second time after local actress and animal activist Pamela Anderson published an open letter to Clark this week condemning the cull, taking aim at the two women’s tendency toward revealing outfits.
“There is another thing they have in common,” Clark said at a press conference Friday. “Both Pamela Anderson and Miley Cyrus, when they open up their closets they probably don’t find a lot of clothes.”
The premier said she believes both celebrities mean well, but suggested they haven’t bothered to learn the justification for the cull.
“We’re trying to defend an endangered species and population of caribou that will go utterly extinct in British Columbia if we don’t do this,” she said. “I just hope that they really work a little to understand the issue.”
McGrady told CTV News he thinks these comments “annoyed” the singer, who came across as “passionate and very knowledgeable” during her 48-hour trip to Klemtu. The youth who met the singer described her as “very real and down to earth,” he added, noting she has a much different persona than when performing.
“I think it’s a good wake up call for any politician who wants to mess with celebrities who have as big a reach as Miley Cyrus,” he said, chuckling. “The Kitasoo/Xai'xais have had a lot of challenges making their voices heard within the government…these kids all know who Miley Cyrus is and they’re big, big fans, and they’re really happy that she’s getting on board with the message that they have for the province, which is our bears [and wolves] are worth more alive than dead.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Roberts and The Canadian Press