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Victoria-based conservation group calling on B.C. to end wolf cull

Pacific Wild, a Victoria-based conservation group, is calling for an end to B.C.'s controversial wolf cull. Pacific Wild, a Victoria-based conservation group, is calling for an end to B.C.'s controversial wolf cull.
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Pacific Wild, a Victoria-based wildlife conservation group, is calling on the provincial government to halt what it calls the inhumane and scientifically controversial wolf cull in B.C.

“Over the last season between December 2023 and March 2024, 248 wolves have been killed as part of the predator reduction program,” said Mollie Cameron, wildlife specialist at Pacific Wild.

“It’s under the guise of protecting caribou in the province.”

Cameron says wolves are being used as a scapegoat for the declining caribou population in B.C. and says the real problem is how the government prioritized industrialization and continues to allow logging of critical caribou habitat, including old growth forests.

“The government has acknowledged that habitat loss is one of the main contributors to declining caribou, however they are culling wolves as a measure to try and protect caribou,” she said.

Cameron says caribou feed on plants predominately found in old growth forests, such as lichens. When that habitat is logged, they are forced into second growth forests, making them more susceptible to wolves.

"Since the provincial wolf cull began in 2015, 2,192 wolves have been killed just through that program,” said Cameron.

Cameron says many hunting regions in the province also have lax regulations and have no bag-limits for wolves, nor any compulsory reporting requirements. She points to data collected through the hunter sample survey that provided an estimate of 5,892 wolves killed within regions where the wolf cull is currently taking place.

“Right now, it’s estimated that 8,084 wolves have been killed in combination of the wolf cull as well as hunting and trapping legally in the province since 2015,” said Cameron.

Cameron says there are two regions in B.C. where caribou are allowed to be hunted, while at the same time, the wolf cull is also taking place in those same regions to protect caribou.

Cameron says the provincial estimate from 2014 on the entire wolf population was at 8,500. She fears wolves, which are a keystone species to B.C.’s ecosystems, could potentially become endangered.

“Hopefully, we never get to the point where our province has to reintroduce wolves at the expense of taxpayers, while taxpayers are currently paying to kill wolves to protect caribou,” she said.

CTV News reached out to the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship but did not receive a response.  

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