Policy debates on hunting or trapping can get a bit nasty: the fight on traditional policy, conservation (and what that means), whose numbers are more accurate, and so on, overwhelm any meaningful discussion. But a group of scientists have put a pretty firm stake through the heart of one US policy that supports killing predators.
Oxford University’s news department reported on the study, which was published in the influential journal Science. The article noted that the international coalition of predator-focused scientists is condemning the standing policy allowing for hunting of wolves in the United States’ Northern Rocky Mountain range.
“Current policies for wolf hunting in the Northern Rockies do not specify a target population size, a maximum number killed or a desired rate of population growth,” said David Macdonald, an Oxford scholar and one of the authors of the study. “Beyond avoiding a decline that would provoke re-listing under the Endangered Species Act, the goals of current policy are not clearly defined.”
“It is a bit surprising for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to conclude that ‘no risks were identified’ for these populations, despite data showing decreased survival, reproduction and population size at the level of entire states,” said lead author Scott Creel.
The arguments and data explored in the study are purely that – black and white numbers. They do not include the ethical or moral consequences of hunting, nor do they examine the spin-off consequences such as depredation, conflict, and so on, all of which have a moral and economic cost.
And as the world watches such studies blast apart weakly made policy, British Columbia continues to put forward their own poor policy to kill wolves and grizzly bears without reliable data or the support of the electorate.
When scientists around the world and a clear majority of residents oppose your environmental policy, it’s time to change direction. To help bring an end to the horrific policy that’s increasing the number of wolves and grizzlies killed in British Columbia please click here.
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