BC extends Wolf Cull program to help Mountain Caribou

The British Columbia government has decided to extend its wolf extermination program for the next five years, according to a Prince George Citizen report. The extension of the Air Wolves Reduction Program aims to help the county’s struggling mountain ibex populations, which face the combined threats of habitat loss and increased predation by gray wolves.

Many of the province’s mountain ibex herds are at risk of extinction, according to British Columbia’s Department of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development. Ninety-eight percent of the world’s mountain ibex live in British Columbia, only 1,500 animals make up 15 herds there. Predator control is just one strategy the government uses to restore these iconic herds, and the extermination program will work in concert with a variety of habitat restoration projects currently underway in British Columbia’s forests.

The ministry confirmed the continuation of the five-year air wolf reduction program on January 27. The decision was made despite opposition from environmental groups and some members of the public, who say the strategy to reduce predators makes wolves scapegoats and ignores the larger threats that habitat loss and resource extraction pose to the caribou population of British Columbia.

However, the department emphasized that its decision to continue culling wolves using helicopters is based on the best available science, which is “the most effective and humane way to adequately reduce population density across the vast and remote landscape.” Department officials say the program is a short-term solution, because habitat restoration depends on forest growth, which takes time. They say the county’s caribou herds don’t have much time and will be at risk of extirpation unless predator numbers are reduced.

“Our government’s approach to reducing predators is based on scientific principles and sound wildlife management,” a department spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC News. “The decision to cull wolves is not taken lightly, but scientific and prior findings show that this retrieval procedure is an effective way to reduce predator pressure on threatened caribou herds in British Columbia.”

read the following: After poachers legally took 23 wolves out of Yellowstone, Montana to seal off the area when another 6 were captured.

The British Columbia government began its aerial wolf control program in 2015. A total of 1,429 wolves have since been removed from the landscape, and the government continues to stand by its claim that the program is an effective tool to halt or reverse caribou population declines in the short term.

“Flocks that were declining at a rate of approximately 15% per year immediately stabilized and numbers began to increase in response to the reduction in wolf populations,” the government says, citing a 2019 study that looked at the effects of the wolf culling program on southern peace in British Columbia. flock. “As of 2021, the Southern Peace Caribou herd has increased by 81% since the start of wolf reduction.”

According to the government fact sheet, wolf populations in the county are “stable and increasing”. It has an estimated population of about 8,500, and the government says its decision to cull 200 to 300 wolves annually over the next five years will not threaten the long-term viability of gray wolves in British Columbia.

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