Hundreds of wolves killed, caribou remain at risk, Alberta scientists say

Wolf cull Alberta
Nearly 1,000 wolves have been killed during a seven year cull in an attempt to save the Little Smoky caribou herd in northwestern Alberta. The cull was effective in preventing a greater decline in the endangered herd’s populations – but scientists are saying it’s only temporary solution.

In a Canadian Press article featured on, University of Alberta biologist and a co-author on the study about the herd released last week, Stan Boutin noted that wolf culls are not going to be enough.

“The larger the area that you treat, the more wolves that you’re going to have to deal with and the higher the cost,” he told CP. “It’s not scalable, in the sense that I don’t think anyone has the stomach for doing it across the province.”

At issue is not just the wildlife that inhabits the landscape – it’s the presence humans are having.

The CP article notes that the herd’s range is 95 per cent disturbed by forestry and energy development.

Carolyn Campbell of the Alberta Wilderness Association pulled no punches in her interview.

“The range plans need to reduce the energy footprint and they need to end logging in highly disturbed ranges,” she said. “It’s important for the government to take those solutions and not continually bow to very short-term pressures. Previous history is not that encouraging. On the other hand, we have a premier who says that to have social licence to extract our energy, we have to be an environmental leader.

“We’re not being an environmental leader by just killing wolves.”

This is another instance where an easy answer is being considered rather than a true solution. The science has shown, very clearly, that the real issue is the destruction of the habitat of the caribou. Yet the government has – and will continue to – seriously consider more culls of important predators.


Tell Alberta Minister of Environment Kyle Fawcett that killing more animals isn’t the way to save the caribou. Email Fawcett at and tell him to listen to science and his constituents. Please forward any responses you receive to


Dear MLA Fawcett,

It has become clear from those who are studying the caribou of Alberta that the only long-term solution for the protection of endangered and at-risk wildlife is an immediate halting of development in sensitive areas. Regardless of how many thousands of wolves are slaughtered, without land, the caribou herds cannot survive. Please listen to reason and stop the senseless killing of these sentient animals and look to real, ecological science for solutions. These decisions will be remembered at the next election.

Your name and address

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