Episode 412: Don’t Fence Me In

The Little Smoky caribou herd is in trouble, and the Alberta government is gearing up for a plan that scientists and advocates claim will only waste money – and could actually harm wildlife populations.

Less than 100 of the ungulates remain, and unless something is done, the population – and the species itself – could disappear from Canada forever. Studies have shown that the greatest risk to the caribou is habitat alteration – primarily from the exploration and exploitation of resources that create roads, carve out seismic lines used for geological surveying, and the general fragmentation of the landscape.

Under the apparently false flag of conservation, the Alberta government has infamously slaughtered hundreds of wolves instead of ending habitat fragmentation. Government reports have shown that the province’s experts don’t think this will save the caribou – only repairing the habitat can do that. But instead of doing the one thing science shows will be successful, the government has launched another plan – to build a fence system to effectively farm caribou. Other ungulates and predators found within this fenced area will be killed, and if the breeding is successful, caribou will be released periodically.

Dr. Gilbert Proulx, an independent scientist and head of Alpha Wildlife Research and Management Limited, has coauthored a paper that takes a critical look at the plan to fence in caribou – and why it will ultimately fail. To discuss this paper, the situation facing the Little Smoky caribou, and what the public can do to put a stop to a costly and potentially lethal plan, Dr. Proulx joined Defender Radio.

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