A cease and desist from a non-government organization (NGO) was issued this week to the head of British Columbia’s forests and natural resources ministry, claiming that aerial shooting is inhumane, a threat to public safety and ultimately illegal.
Pacific Wild, a charitable organization whose focus is on environmental protection for the Great Bear Rainforest and greater Pacific Northwest, issued a news release outlining their stance, along with the letter delivered to Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“From what we can tell, the government has been unlawfully issuing permits to shoot wolves from a helicopter,” says Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild’s Executive Director. “We want the government to respond to that allegation. Wolves are an integral part of BC's wilderness and are key in maintaining ecosystem function. Unfortunately, these highly intelligent, social animals continue to be scapegoated for the decline of ungulates while the government continues to bow to industry and critical habitat continues to be decimated in British Columbia.”
At least 425 wolves were killed by gunmen in helicopters between 2015 and 2019, according to the news release, not including more than 100 wolves killed by other methods in the same time period. The cull has taken place and is scheduled to continue as part of the government’s response to declining mountain caribou populations in the South Selkirk and South Peace regions. The report that recommended the ongoing cull was critiqued by one of The Fur-Bearers’ biology advisors recently and a government report in 2017 indicated that such a cull could not be done humanely.
The legal argument provided by Breder Law Corporation in the cease and desist letter outlines that “the Regional Manager does not have the authority to issue a permit for the current wolf cull, as it is in direct contravention of the law” related to the use of helicopters for hunting. The letter, which can be read by clicking here, also considers legal ramifications of an inarguably inhumane killing policy and the safety issues related to firing at moving wildlife from a moving helicopter without knowing if other backcountry users are in the area.
The letter ends with the statement that, “if the Government (sic) declines to reply to this letter, and/or proceeds with the wolf cull, we have instructions to file legal proceedings against the Government to prevent it from continuing with the wolf cull.”
The Fur-Bearers are in support of this action and will continue to provide updates as they are available.