Mountain caribou decline stems from habitat loss; why are we hunting wolves?

The risk for Mountain caribou in western Canada is at a critical juncture – and the policies of governments of BC and Alberta are not focusing on what the true cause is.

The Rocky Mountain Outlook reported that at the recent meeting of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) the population of caribou in southeastern BC has gone from threatened to endangered, the central population was listed as endangered and the northern population was listed as special concern.

“Having lost 30 per cent of their range in the last century, many herds are dwindling at an accelerating pace because of dramatic habitat changes and disturbance from industrial development, such as logging, mining, oil and gas development and recreation,” wrote reporter Cathy Ellis.

This isn’t news to any of us – but what’s shocking is that the answer to this troubling trend is to kill wolves.

We know that killing wolves will wreak havoc on the ecosystem. We know that it will lead to pain and loss for hundreds of canid families. We even know that it won’t do a whole lot to protect the caribou.

The obvious question becomes: what should they be doing instead?

Leave the caribou alone. It’s simply logical: our interference with the landscape of caribou is quickening their decline. So stop interfering.

Yet the government is struggling with that decision – the powerful lobbyists from the oil, mining and logging industries can flash money and power to governments. We do, however, have something even stronger: our votes.

Remind your local representative that caribou – and wolves – matter to you. And if they don’t support co-existence initiatives that will see all wildlife protected, you won’t support them.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible.

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