They know they won’t kill more wolves, and seem to acknowledge that it won’t solve any problems, but the government of Saskatchewan has gone ahead and expanded the size of an annual wolf cull.
The CBC reported that the Ministry of Environment has increased the number of areas in which the killing can take place, as well as the number of licenses available to Saskatchewan hunters, while also noting that they don’t expect to kill more wolves.
"The goal of this is not a high harvest volume," Scott Moe, Minister of Environment, told the CBC. "This is about pushing those animals out."
The Ministry seems to be responding to concerns that wolves are depredating on livestock near forest areas, and that the pressure of a hunt – even if none of the wolves are killed – will move the packs away from areas where farmers keep their animals.
While we at The Fur-Bearers have a great amount of respect and admiration of wolves, and recognize their inherent intelligence and problem solving skills, it may be time for the Minister and his staff to step away from the fairy tales and back into the real world of environmental management.
Gun shots can and will scare many animals, there is no doubt of that. But the idea that they will learn the loud sound of a gun shot means an area isn’t safe – and the entire pack should move away from an available food resources (where they presumably also have access to water and shelter), is a little too imaginative. It’s the kind of like thinking that if you put a “No Wolves Allowed” sign outside of town, that all dogs will sadly nod their heads, and move on to the next community.
There is a growing body of science that shows persecuting wolves and other native predators can increase depredation through a variety of factors – and that co-existence programs work, right around the world.
We want to support the Minister in his efforts to help ranchers and farmers in Saskatchewan, we just wish he’d put away the story book and pick up a text book instead.