Save B.C. Wolves – Open Letter to the B.C. Government

Pacific Wild
Denny Island, B.C., Canada

Feb 25, 2015 — Go to www.pacificwild.org to take action and go to https://www.change.org/p/save-b-c-wolves 

OVER SIXTY CANADIAN AND INTERNATIONAL SIGNATORIES VOICE OPPOSITION TO THE B.C. WOLF KILL IN AN OPEN LETTER TO THE B.C. GOVERNMENT

‘B.C. Government scapegoats wolves for its failure to protect caribou habitat’

OPEN LETTER
February 25, 2015

Dear Honourable Premier Clark,

The undersigned conservation organizations and concerned citizens oppose the ongoing inhumane slaughter of wolves by helicopter in the South Selkirk Mountains and the South Peace region. We demand that this killing be immediately halted and that the cost of this slaughter ($575,000) to BC taxpayers be put towards caribou habitat protection. 

Your government’s claim that killing wolves will save these caribou populations has no scientific basis as proven by the failure of BC’s wolf “reduction” programs, involving the sterilization, killing, trapping and/or poisoning of wolves. For years, these programs have failed to halt the decline in imperiled caribou populations. Killing more wolves will not miraculously save the caribou.

The caribou populations are declining because for decades your government has failed to adequately protect their habitat. In the Selkirk Mountains, the caribou population has crashed because of logging in addition to snowmobilers, heli-skiers and cat-skiers scaring them off their critical winter feeding grounds. In the South Peace, critical caribou habitat has been destroyed and fragmented by logging, oil and gas development, access roads and coal mines. Recreational users and industrial development can increase wolf populations and their access to caribou, however, studies of wolves in BC and Alberta show that wolves prefer deer to caribou and that the greatest stressor to caribou is human activity. Years of scientific studies have also proven that mountain caribou require large areas of intact wilderness habitat to survive.

We, the undersigned, therefore join our voices with more than 173,400 persons who have signed the #SaveBCWolves petition, and call on the BC government: 

• to immediately halt the ongoing inhumane aerial wolf slaughter;

• to develop caribou recovery plans in line with procedures for identifying critical habitat under the federal Species at Risk Act. These plans should include the creation of large intact protected areas in high and low elevation habitat that are off limit to logging, resource extraction and recreational users with buffer zones where minimal industrial or recreational human encroachment is permitted; 

• to ensure the recovery plans are implemented through a transparent and open process, including the publication of annual reports compiled by government scientists and peer-reviewed by independent conservation experts; 

• to increase the immediate protection of the 18 surviving caribou in the Selkirk Mountains by enforcing all snowmobile closures recommended by government scientists, excluding overlapping heli- and cat-ski tenures from protected caribou habitat and its buffer zones and prosecuting trespassers. Ongoing Snowmobile Management Agreements negotiations with snowmobile clubs should be open to public review and comment. 

Sincerely,

See List of Signators 

CC. 
Honorable Mary Polak, M.L.A., Minister of Environment, ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca 
Tel: 250 387-1187
Honorable Steve Thomson, M.L.A., Minister of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resource Operations FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca 
Tel: 250 387-6240
Honorable Bill Bennett, M.L.A., Minister of Energy and MinesMEM.Minister@gov.bc.ca 
Tel: 250 387-5896

Sixty-Two Signators to Open Letter to Premier Clark

Canadian Non-Profit Organizations (5)

Animal Alliance of Canada, Ont’90
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Ont
Bear With Us Sanctuary, Mike McIntosh, Ont’92
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, Ont’65 
Coyote Watch Canada, Ont’08

British Columbia Non-Profit Organizations (17)

Bears Matter, Barb Murray, BC’06
Clayoquot Action Society, BC, ‘13 
Friends of Clayoquot Sound, BC’ 79
Friends of Nemaiah Valley, BC’00
Friends Uniting for Nature Society, BC ‘08
Lifeforce Foundation, Peter Hamilton , BC’81
Pacific Wild Alliance, BC’06

Pacific Northwest Collective, BC’14

Purcell Alliance for Wilderness, BC
Save the Cedar League, BC 
Sierra Club BC,’75
Silva Forest Foundation, BC’92 
Standup4Greatbear, Norm Hann, BC
Valhalla Wilderness Society, BC’75
Wilderness Committee, BC’80
Wolf Awareness Incorporated, BC’87
Yellowhead Ecological Association, BC’71 

USA and International Non-Organizations (10)

Animals Asia, China/UK’98
Change for Animals Foundation, UK
Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research,MA, USA’07 
IFAW- International Fund for Animal Welfare,Ont ’69 
National Wolfwatcher Coalition, MN, USA
N. American Wolf Foundation ( Wolf Hollow),MA USA’88
Predator Defense, OR, USA’90 
Spectacled Bear Conservation Society-Peru, BC’2007 
Wolf Conservation Centre, NY’99
Zoocheck, Ont’84

Canadian Businesses and Individuals (30) 

Aboriginal Journeys Whales and Grizzly Bear Tours, BC 
Applied Conservation GIS, Baden Cross, BC
Behavioral & Enviro Solutions, Biologist, Else Poulsen, Ont
Bluewater Adventures Ltd.,BC
Brian Brett, Poet and Novelist, BC 
Charlie Russell, Bear Specialist and Author, AB 
Ellie Archer, Wildlife Viewing Guide, BC
Evelyn Kirkcaldy, Wildlife Artist, BC
Dr. Faisal Moola, PhD – Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Toronto
Great Bear Chalet, BC 
Grizzly Bear Ranch, BC 
Holly Arntzen, Conservationist, Musician, BC
John E. Marriott Wildlife and Nature Photography, AB 
Kootenay Reflections, Jim Lawrence, Photographer, BC
Dr. Lorna Crozier, Professor Emerita, OC, BC 
Maple Leaf Adventures, Kevin Smith, BC
Mark Leiren – Young, Author, Journalist and Playwright, BC 
Natural Art Images, Brad Hill – Photographer, BC
Ocean Adventures Charter Co Ltd., BC
Ocean Light II Adventures Ltd., BC
Dr. Patrick Lane, D. Letters, OC, BC
Dr. Paul Paquet, Wildlife Biologist, AB 
Remote Passages Marine Excursions, BC
Robert Bateman, Artist, BC
Ross Peterson, Retired Biologist, BC
Steve Williamson Photography, BC
Susan Musgrave, Masset, Haida Gwaii, BC
Sylvia Dolson, B.C. Animal Welfare Advocate, BC
Watershed Sentinel, BC
Wayne P. McCrory, RPBio, BC

Signators Signed After First Open Letter Sent Feb 25, 2015 (15)

David Polster, M.Sc., R.P.Bio, Ecologist, BC

Genevieve Singleton, Nature Interpreter, BC

Mothership Adventures, BC

Peggy Sowklen, DVM, Artists for Conservation, BC

Vicky Husband, CM, OBC, BC

World Animal Protection Canada, Ont’50 (formerly WSPA)

International Animal Rescue, UK

California Wolf Center, CA

Endangered Species Coalition,DC

Epic-Environmental Protection Information Center, CA

Klamath Forest Alliance, CA

Malcolm R. MacPherson, Ph.D.Retired Scientist, NM

Northeast Wolf Coalition, MA

Western Wildlife Conservancy, UT

Wildlands Network. WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Guardian Watchmen confront armed trophy hunters to save grizzlies

“Sometimes it gets nasty,” said Jason Moody, a patroller from Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola.http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/coastal-guardian-watchmen-confront-armed-trophy-hunters-save-grizzlies 
Coastal Guardian Watchmen Grizzly bear hunt
 
Coastal Guardian Watchmen on the lookout for trophy hunters on the Great Bear Rainforest coast in 2010. Photo by Doug Neasloss with Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation.

Patrolling up and down British Columbia’s coast with binoculars are a group of dedicated First Nations volunteers that boat right up to armed hunters, often American, in their vessels to dissuade them from killing at-risk grizzlies just for sport. 

Called the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, they urge unsuspecting trophy hunters to halt their pursuit of grizzlies as insensitive to First Nations culture, and against tribal law.  

“Sometimes it gets nasty,” said Jason Moody, a patroller from Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola.

“Sometimes you get [trophy hunters] realizing, ‘OK, you guys don’t want the hunting around here. We’ll go somewhere else.’”

Foreign hunters from places like Virginia and Texas pay thousands of dollars to come to B.C.—to be in one of the few places left where the fourth-largest carnivore on the planet can be shot for a trophy head or a bear rug.  

Many trophy hunters don’t like the altercations with the now 16 native patrollers on the coast.

“It gets tense. Usually just having a presence is enough,” says William Housty, who chairs the Heltisiuk First Nation resource management office in Bella Bella, and coordinates many of the indigenous watchmen.

Housty’s biggest worry is intoxicated hunters harming his crews that double as field researchers, quietly collecting grizzly-hair DNA in the woods.

“If there are drunk hunters walking around drinking Jack Daniels — who is to say they won’t shoot one our researchers. That’s one of our biggest beefs with the province,” he said.

The Guardian Watchmen do not have the legal powers to board vessels or enforce conservation laws, but they wish they did. Provincial officers, the Coast Guard and the RCMP are not seen often enough, said Housty.  

And many hunters they come across are not carrying provincial licences. 

“A lot of the people who come up here don’t actually have tags. They’re poachers,” said Housty.

The wildlife manager recalled an infamous incident in 2013 when NHL player Clayton Stoner let some coastal watchmen on board the famous hockey player’s boat to photograph the defencemen’s recent grizzly kill.  

NHL Clayton Stoner grizzly beheaded

NHL defenceman Clayton Stoner posing with a beheaded grizzly in 2013.  Photo by Coastal Guardian Watchmen.

The head and claws were removed, and Stoner smiled for the watchmen’s photo snaps that would soon become national news material.

“He let himself be an idiot poster child for the trophy hunt,” laughed Housty.   

Stoner defended his bear kill at the time.

“I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting licence through a British Columbia limited-entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my licence while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May,” the hockey star said in a statement. 

But since that media spectacle, many watchmen admit they’ve only been partly successful in slowing the trophy hunt.   

The Guide Outfitters Association says as long as it is kept legal by the B.C. government, their members will continue flying in high-paying hunting clients to kill grizzlies. 

“While we try to accommodate [aboriginal] wishes, but until they have jurisdiction, the authority around it is the Crown,” says the association’s executive director Scott Ellis.  

“Our guys are still going to operate their businesses.” 

But Coastal First Nations are now threatening legal action to put an end to the industry.

NDP and Liberals off-target on grizzly trophy hunt, conservationist says

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/ndp-and-liberals-target-grizzly-trophy-hunt-conservationist-says 

by Mychaylo Prystupa

Grizzly photo by Andrew Wright in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Grizzly photo by Andrew Wright in the Great Bear Rainforest.

A fierce political squabble this week in the British Columbia legislature over who gets to shoot bears — locals or foreigners — has entirely missed the target about the need to protect at-risk grizzlies, says a long-time conservationist.

“I think the NDP really has missed the mark,” says Brian Falconer with Raincoast Conservation Foundation on Thursday.

 

“The bears don’t care if it’s a guide outfitters’ bullet or a resident hunters’ bullet that goes through its gut.  It’s dead,” he added.

On Monday, the opposition New Democrats fired political shots at B.C. Minister Bill Bennett for an alleged conflict of interest regarding a recent hunting policy decision.  The issue made national headlines.

 

The opposition claims the long-time hunting enthusiast Liberal MLA, who has a habit of lobbing profanities at his hunting critics, should not have sat in on cabinet decisions about the so-called “allocation” of hunting permits.

The background is, the BC government recently changed the percentage of kill licences given to foreigners versus resident hunters in December.  

The change caused an uproar among the thousands of resident hunters represented by the BC Wildlife Federation, who growled at Bennett.

Mining Minister Bennett intervened, but not before colourfully pushing back on Facebook: “Frankly [Natural Resources Minister] Steve doesn’t need the votes to get elected, and I’m not running again, so all the threats don’t mean shit to us.” 

A tweak to the hunting allocation was made Feb.6.  

 

But the NDP says, because Bennett is still owed a $70,000 loan from a guide outfitting business he sold in 2001, he must be in bed with the guide outfitters.

“If the guide outfitters do better [because of the policy shift], would he get his money back?  You start to think about that,” said NDP MLA Katrine Conroy on Thursday.

The opposition even released an e-mail showing Bennett telling ministerial staff he’s been “intimately involved” in allocation decisions.

What’s missed in all this bafflegab, says Falconer, is that 87% of British Columbians polled in 2013 want the trophy hunt stopped altogether — not political battles over who gets to kill, he said.

“All of this bickering is disguising the real issue.  It doesn’t matter if the bear hide ends up on a floor in the Kootenays, or a floor in West Virginia — the grizzly is still dead.”

The Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative has long said the trophy hunt of (white) spirit bears and grizzlies is an affront to their culture, is threatening to a scientifically unknown number of grizzlies, and provides far less economic value than the bear-watching eco businesses.

The BC Wildlife Federation agrees the recent allocation decision was not about the trophy hunt, and that its resident hunters seek the grizzlies for food.

“Many people, including my own family, will eat grizzly meat or black bear meat, or whatever,” said BCWF vice president Jim Glaicar.

“This is about the issue of access for residents of BC and privatizing a public resource,” he added. 

Bears Matter Note: Please sign Letter to Premier Clark to Stop Trophy Killing of Grizzlies! It is unacceptable and unethical to over 87% of British Columbians. It is unscientific and goes against our eco-tourism culture in BC!

https://www.change.org/p/protect-grizzly-bears-by-banning-the-trophy-hunt-in-bc

With files from Jenny Uechi.

Vancouver Sun Opinion: Ecologists oppose B.C. wolf kill by John and Mary Theberge

The B.C. government has no plans for a wolf cull or a bounty in the province, despite concerns in the cattle industry and among some First Nations that the predator population is out of control. Photograph by: NATHAN DENETTE , THE CANADIAN PRESS

The B.C. government has no plans for a wolf cull or a bounty in the province, despite concerns in the cattle industry and among some First Nations that the predator population is out of control.
Photograph by: NATHAN DENETTE , THE CANADIAN PRESS

As two of Canada’s senior wolf biologists, we are disturbed the B.C. government is implementing massive wolf control plan with the low probability of recovering a few small, isolated, range-edge herds of mountain caribou.

As university-based biologists, we have run the longest, most intensive, telemetry-based wolf research program in Canada. We have published two books on our wolf research and many scientific papers including two on what constitutes valid biological evidence to assess the role of predators in limiting prey numbers.

Assessing the ecological consequences of a major intervention such as predator control is a complex task filled with uncertainty. The need for the government to explain itself is underlined by an amazing statement in its 2014 wolf management policy: “Attempts to control wolves to reduce predation risks on caribou has been a provincial priority since 2001. Wolf densities have been reduced; however, at this time, a correlation between reduced wolf densities and caribou recovery cannot be substantiated.”

Why has past wolf killing not worked? The government’s chosen reason seems to be wolf killing needs to be more intensive, and more long lasting; that choice is inferred in the wolf management policy. Another possibility is that no rise in caribou numbers is possible because of habitat destruction, regardless of the presence of wolves. Starvation, climate-caused winter kill, predation by bears and/or cougars, accidents such as avalanches and other unpredictable events are have taken a major toll.

We would place our bets, however, on a third reasons that wolf killing has not lead to caribou recovery. Over much of B.C., what is known as an ecological phase shift has happened. Ecologists know of such shifts: witness the fish and wildlife tragedy of the Bering Sea, and the non-recovered cod fishery of the Atlantic. Phase shifts are based on one-way environmental alterations in trophic and other complex ecosystem interrelationships. New species crowd out the potential for recovery of old ones. Recovery is generally beyond the scope of management intervention.

Across much of B.C., massive forest cutting has resulted in gross habitat alteration and fragmentation. The cost? A phase shift. Moose, benefiting from early successional forests after logging and other land uses have greatly extended their range in B.C. Numbers of elk and deer have adjusted, too. However, caribou, especially the southern mountain ecotype, have declined due to a loss of critical older-growth, lichen-clad forests. They have been victims, too, of habitat fragmentation preventing herd-to-herd “metapopulation” flow that once reduced risks of local, herd extinctions.

Ecosystems are made up of interacting parts. Removing predators constitutes a major perturbation. It is a slippery slope, where, when you start, you are doomed to increasing intervention with unknown consequences. With fewer wolves, will moose and elk populations increase? Will their browsing inhibit forest regeneration? Should they be killed, too? (In B.C.’s 2010 plan for an aerial wolf kill, moose reduction was a management prescription, too) If caribou numbers were to increase, would grizzlies and black bears become more common predators on caribou? What then, kill them? (In the Revelstoke region, bears — grizzly and black — were the major predator on caribou from 1992-2006, according to an internal ministry report.)

How long do you keep on intervening in dubious and unpredictable ways? It takes 75, maybe 100 years to grow forest stands with the structure to maximize arboreal lichens that have long fed caribou. In the meantime, what does climate change deal out?

Theberges

Until he retired in 2000, John Theberge was a professor with the Faculty of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. John’s co-researcher and wife, Mary Theberge, is a wildlife illustrator and educator.  

Read More at:

http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/Opinion+Ecologists+oppose+wolf+kill/10827496/story.html 

Please sign letter to Premier Clark and share with contacts: https://www.change.org/p/save-b-c-wolves

Grizzly bear population at risk as B.C. Liberal government aligns with trophy hunters

Photo of Premier Christy Clark at 2012 GOABC convention from Facebook. GOABC president Mark Werner, left, and executive director Scott Ellis, right.
 
By Claire Hume Jan.27’15 Vancouver Observer
 
Third in a series investigating B.C.’s trophy hunt. Read part one and two for the whole story. 

Dressed in a black cowboy hat, B.C. Premier Christy Clark beams at the camera as she accepts the President’s Award from the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. The year is 2012, and the outfitters are gathered for their annual convention in Kelowna. Clark has just announced new regulatory changes to benefit the hunting guides, and was cheered by the audience. 

“So awesome to have Premier Clark in attendance and noting her support for HUNTING and the role of hunters as conservationists and as the original eco-tourism promoters in B.C.!” a commenter gushed on the Guide Outfitters’ Association (GOABC) Facebook page. 

Representing 245 outfitters, GOABC is one of the key proponents of ongoing trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Its members constitute a tiny minority of B.C.’s population, but carry significant weight with the provincial Liberal government. 

Like Canada’s polar bears, B.C.’s grizzly bears have been listed as a “species of special concern” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Unlike their Arctic cousins, though, grizzly bears don’t qualify for federally legislated conservation measures — despite the fact that B.C. grizzly numbers have dropped from an estimated 35,000 grizzlies in 1915 to possibly as low as six thousand today — and have become a coveted prize for trophy hunters

Read Full Article at: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/grizzly-bear-population-risk-bc-liberal-government-aligns-trophy-hunters 

Please sign and share Petition to Protect Grizzly Bears by Banning the Trophy Hunt in BC https://www.change.org/p/protect-grizzly-bears-by-banning-the-trophy-hunt-in-bc

Action Alert: Save BC Wolves from Aerial Killing:Pacific Wild Petitioning B.C. Liberals Premier Christy Clark

BC Government Is getting Ready to Slaughter 180 Wolves over next two months

BC Government Is getting Ready to Slaughter 180 Wolves over next two months

This petition will be delivered to:

B.C. Liberals:Premier Christy Clark,Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource,Hon. Steve Thomson,B.C. Minister of the Environment,Hon. Mary Polak, Green Party Leader,Elizabeth May

Assistant Deputy Minister – Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations,Tom Ethier Conservation Director, Pacific Wild,Ian McAllister

Save B.C. Wolves!

Pacific Wild Denny Island, B.C., Canada

January 15, 2015

B.C. Government green-lights controversial wolf hunt in the South Selkirk and South Peace regions. As many as 184 wolves to be shot from helicopters.

Decades of habitat destruction and human encroachment have left BC’s mountain caribou on the edge of survival. Instead of protecting critical food and habitat for caribou, such as the lichen rich interior forests, the BC government has now placed the blame on wolves. Over 180 wolves are now being targeted for aerial killing in the next two months. These highly social and intelligent animals, icons of our natural heritage, should not be killed because of government negligence. Killing all the wolves in BC won’t bring the caribou back in the absence of habitat protection.

Wolves are highly social and intelligent animals and research shows that predator kill programs increase reproductive rates in wolves and destabilizes pack structure causing more predation of livestock and other non-native prey.

It is the view of Pacific Wild that this announcement is scientifically unsound and that wolves are being used as a scapegoat to divert attention from the fundamental problem of ongoing habitat destruction and displacement caused by human encroachment.

“This is not management, it’s a tax-payer funded kill program of one of our most iconic species.” said Ian McAllister, Conservation Director for Pacific Wild.  “This is not only a horrific day for wolves in British Columbia but a sad day for public engagement and policy that will surely bring international condemnation to our borders.”

*(PLEASE NOTE you are NOT donating to Pacific Wild when asked  after you have signed the petition – you are donating to change.org) 

Please consider DONATING to Pacific Wild’s Save BC Wolves Indiegogo campaign here.
Learn more and support the campaign to end the wolf kill and educate the public about this issue.

Go to: www.pacificwild.org to learn more and take action

Share through social media: @pacificwild #saveBCwolves

Connect with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Contact Pacific Wild: info@pacificwild.org

Pacific Wild is a B.C. based non-profit wildlife conservation organization and a leading advocate for changes to wolf management in British Columbia.   www.pacificwild.org

LETTER TO

B.C. Liberals Premier Christy Clark

Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Hon. Steve Thomson

B.C. Minister of the Environment Hon. Mary Polak

and 3 others

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

Assistant Deputy Minister – Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Tom Ethier

Conservation Director, Pacific Wild Ian McAllister

Save B.C. Wolves!

Honourable Minister Steve Thomson 
Honourable Minister Mary Polak
Assistant Deputy Minister Tom Ethier

Read more 

RECENT UPDATES

PETITION UPDATE

Save BC Wolves Campaign

Jan 23, 2015 — British Columbia Wolf Kill Update

Thank you for signing the petition supporting an end to the wolf kill in B.C. We have reached 80,000 names in just a few short days – a truly… Read more

CLICK HERE to support Save B.C. Wolves

Stop the wolf kill, stand up for B.C. wolves. | Crowdfunding is a democratic way to support the fundraising needs of your community. Make a contribution today!

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