Canadians Can Stop Massive Wolf Kill
The deadline for Canadians to comment on the federal government’s massive wolf-kill caribou recovery strategy is February 22, 2012. For most Alberta boreal woodland caribou herds, the wolf-kill strategy would allow 95% of their habitat to be destroyed. Tar sands and other oil-gas activities in those herds’ ranges would not be disturbed. Please write Environment Minister Peter Kent and ask him to protect habitat that woodland caribou require for long-term survival and recovery, rather than encouraging decades-long killing of many thousands of wolves.
Environment Canada released a long-overdue proposed boreal caribou recovery strategy in late August 2011, but it places the most vulnerable herds, including those in Alberta, at high risk of continued decline. For most Alberta herds, a wolf-kill-reliant strategy would allow 95% of their habitat to be destroyed. Tar sands and other oil-gas activities in those herds’ ranges would not be disturbed. This is an absurd and deeply unethical strategy that sacrifices both wolves and caribou to unmanaged energy industry growth.
Environment Canada’s data shows Alberta’s herds are by far the most vulnerable to being wiped out in all of Canada. This is because of past and ongoing mismanagement of caribou ranges despite clear scientific recommendations to protect and restore intact habitat.
In healthy forests, wolf predation does not significantly affect caribou. Woodland caribou are spread thinly across the landscape and do not support wolf populations in themselves. Industrial development upsets this fine balance, bringing in larger numbers of other prey such as deer and moose and creating easy access corridors for wolves, resulting in more caribou being killed by wolves. Scientific studies agree that the only long-term solution for caribou is to have enough intact habitat to allow them to remain separated from deer, moose and wolves.
500 wolves have already been killed in the last 5 years in northwestern Alberta (in the Little Smoky herd’s range), without halting habitat destruction. Wolf populations will immediately rebound once the intensive killing stops because no meaningful habitat improvements have occurred. The federal government’s draft caribou recovery strategy is now calling for a massive expansion of this approach.
Please ask Minister Kent to prevent new disturbance and restore necessary habitat in all caribou ranges as the priority of the recovery strategy, rather than rely on massive wolf kills so habitat destruction can continue. This can be done through, for example, setting sensible total limits on forest disturbance in caribou ranges, and halting new leasing in ranges, until sufficient habitat is restored for populations to be self-sustaining.
Please send your comments in by 4pm Eastern time, Wed. Feb 22, 2012.
- Environment Minister Peter Kent’s e-mail: Minister [at] ec [dot] gc [dot] ca
- Please copy Environment Canada’s Caribou plan office: RecoveryPlanning_Pl [at] ec [dot] gc [dot] ca
- And copy us at AWA! Awa [dot] cc [at] shaw [dot] ca
- If you prefer to phone - Minister Kent’s office: 819-997-1441
- A toll-free Environment Canada information line will also pass on comments – please say they are for the attention of Minister Kent and the caribou recovery planning group – 1-800-668-6767
Thanks for taking action for caribou and wolves!