The Latest News on Brittish Columbia’s Unethical Wolf Hunt from Earth Island Journal

British Columbia Government Using ‘Judas’ Wolf in Unethical Hunt, Say Wildlife Advocates BY ELIZABETH CLAIRE ALBERTS – MARCH 9, 2016
Collared wolf may be kept alive to help government track and kill pack members time and time again

The mass killing of gray wolves in British Columbia (BC) has ignited a bitter feud between Canadian government officials and conservationists. The government has insisted that the cull, which began in early 2015, is the only way to save the critically endangered mountain caribou, while wildlife advocates argue that wolves are merely being scapegoated for habitat loss in the region. In recent weeks, the battle has heated up with the release of audio clips of recorded interview with a retired wildlife patrol guide who outlines the controversial methods used in the culls.  

In the interview, released by the nonprofit Wildlifr Defence League the man — who remains anonymous but claims to work for the BC government’s caribou recovery program — explains that a wolf is caught in foot traps, tranquilized, and fitted with a radio collar. When the collared wolf rejoins his pack, the entire pack can then be tracked and killed by gunmen in helicopters. Above the sound of rattling machinery, the source also reveals that the collared wolf is kept alive to track and kill any new pack members: “They leave that one with the radio collar to live, and now they can come back, and okay he’s got buddies, better take them out.” Although the source didn’t specify whether the wolf would be kept alive for next season’s cull, members of the Wildlife Defence League believe that he will be. [to read more on: British Columbia Government Using ‘Judas’ Wolf in Unethical Hunt, Say Wildlife Advocates, click HERE]

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Image: Ian McAllister

News on the B. C. Wolf Cull

Wildlife group calls wolf cull practices into question Mike Carter / Alaska Highway News March 2,  

Photogrpah Wildlife Defence League

 
As the province shifts the focus of its wolf cull to the South Peace, an environmental group continues to raise questions about the use of a “Judas wolf” to track and kill the predators during last year’s cull in the South Selkirk Mountains.
The B.C. government says the wolf cull, part of the Caribou Recovery Plan, will help mitigate risks to dwindling caribou populations in both regions.
The Wildlife Defence League (WDL) claims the cull involves a lone radio collared wolf — named after the biblical story of the disciple Judas — that is reportedly left alive and tracked so it can lead hunters to its pack.
“This solitary wolf would be tracked as he instinctively (searches) for a new family, only to be traumatized yet again as his new pack is slaughtered before his eyes,” the League wrote in a a Feb. 27 release.
“The (B.C. government) have publicly stated that their wolf cull is being conducted in a humane manner, but the information uncovered during our field campaign contradicts such a claim.”
The WDL was referring to unconfirmed recordings it released last month of a conversation its operatives had with a worker in the Caribou Recovery Program that described how a so-called “Judas” wolf is used.
In an email exchange with the Alaska Highway News, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations spokesperson Greig Bethel denied the group’s claims.
“The Wildlife Defence League is incorrect,” he wrote. “There was not a lone collared wolf left behind last year as a ‘Judas’ wolf.”
Bethel however did confirm that wolves will be radio collared during the South Peace cull, but that their movements are only being tracked to see if they were entering caribou habitats.
“The ministry is only removing wolves that pose an active threat to endangered mountain caribou,” Bethel wrote. “Radio collars transmit the wolves’ movements and let ministry biologists know whether wolves are in the core caribou habitat.”
On Feb. 23, WDL released audio and transcripts it says prove the government’s use of a Judas wolf.
In the recordings, which Alaska Highway News was not able to independently verify, field operatives with WDL speak to an unnamed man in the South Selkirk region who identifies himself as a retired wildlife patrol guide working on the province’s Caribou Recovery Program.
The man describes the process of how a wolf is radio collared and used to lead hunters to the pack.
“They just left one with a radio collar on and then they can buzz in (and) see if he’s got new recruitment,” he said. “You got a radio collar on it and they know where the one is at and they leave that one with a radio collar to live and now they can come back and (see) OK, he’s got buddies, better take them out.”
Tommy Knowles, campaign director with WDL, said in an email that the group will not be conducting its own investigations in the South Peace as it did in the South Selkirk, because of the “complicated political situation.”
“(The) West Moberly First Nations and Saulteau First Nations support the wolf cull,” he wrote. “We recognize that their traditional territory encompasses the area where the cull is taking place and without consent, we didn’t feel like it was right to campaign there.”
Knowles added his organization recognizes the important role caribou play in the traditional culture of Indigenous people in British Columbia.
“Still, we adamantly disagree with the wolf cull as a tactic to recover the endangered herds and believe that only habitat protection and restoration will bring caribou back to sustain a healthy population,” he wrote.
Knowles said despite the government’s stated role in protecting caribou, it has allowed industrial development to “decimate critical caribou habitat.”
The wolf cull is already underway in the South Peace near Chetwynd. The ministry says it will not report the results until the spring.
In late November 2015, Saulteau First Nations Chief Nathan Parenteau told the Alaska Highway News that he supports the cull.
“Moose, caribou, everything is getting hammered by (wolves), ” he said during a signing ceremony with provincial government ministers.
“It’s a matter of balance,” he added. “We’ve put it into an area where it’s unbalanced, now we have to bring that balance back. Part of that may be a cull.”
The wolf cull is entering its second year and is planned to last five years. The cull will be reviewed after four years.
In 2015, the ministry says 73 wolves were removed in the South Peace, short of it’s original goal of 160.
“The original removal goal was an estimate of the maximum number of wolves that might be removed, not a quota,” Bethel wrote.
He said the number of wolves to be removed in 2016 and in future years will depend on how quickly wolves re-populate the areas and how effective the program is.
Bethel says the ministry will not be releasing the name of the contractor it has hired to carry out the wolf cull in the South Peace due to “threats to personal safety of those involved in caribou recovery/wolf removal activities.”
There are seven herds of caribou populations in the South Peace: the Quintette, Moberly, Scott, Kennedy Siding, Burnt Pine, Narraway and Graham.

News Release from Wildlife Defence League on BC Wolf Cull

Press Release: South Selkirk Wolves Confirmed Slaughtered in Second Year of BC Wolf Cull Wildlife Defence League February 18, 2016
 

A trail camera captures an image of a wolf in the South Selkirk.

 

SOUTH SELKIRK, February 18, 2016 – BC-based conservation organization, Wildlife Defence League, has received information that the second year of the BC Liberals’ five year plan to cull wolves in the South Selkirk region is now over.  [read full story click HERE]