Wolf cull based on flawed science, researchers say

Nearly 500 wolves killed as part of cull to protect caribou.

A new scientific paper challenges that 463 wolves killed as part of British Columbia’s gambit to protect endangered mountain caribou have died in vain.

The cull, which has cost taxpayers nearly $2 million, in addition to penning of pregnant caribou in specific herds and locations, is hotly contested by many researchers, non-profits and advocates, including The Fur-Bearers. There is no argument that natural resource industry’s vast changes to the landscape is ultimately responsible for the decline in caribou populations; yet, the wolves are paying for this ecological storm, created by government inaction.

Recently, a group of researchers published a rebuttal against another paper from which the BC government based much of their policy – and the news isn’t great.

In oversimplified terms, the rebuttal points to a failure in the statistical modelling used in the previous research, which the study authors argue results in a lack of statistical support for the current cull and penning program.

RESEARCH: No statistical support for wolf control and maternal penning as conservation measures for endangered mountain caribou

The Atlantic spoke with two of the recent study authors as well as the author of the original study proposing support for the cull and penning plan, and offers a breakdown of the flaw in the original paper, as well as a response to its latest critique.

The Fur-Bearers will be monitoring this situation and speaking with our partners in the science, non-profit and advocacy communities to determine our best course of action moving forward. Sign up for our eNewsletter to get updates on this issue and others.

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