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By Michelle Morton
A conservation group is calling on Albertans to speak up to the provincial government — and demand that it to stop killing Canadian wolves in its efforts to recover the Woodland Caribou population before it’s too late.
Wolf Awareness created this call for action after the province released a draft agreement of the Canada-Alberta Section 11 Conservation Agreement for Woodland Caribou and is asking for the public’s feedback by October 6.
In a phone interview with Daily Hive Calgary, Wolf Awareness Executive Director Sadie Parr said that wolves “didn’t put caribou in this situation,” and there’s very little evidence to show that if the animals were killed, that it would have any “impact on increasing caribou numbers.”
“I think it’s wrong to kill one species to potentially help another,” Parr said.
In the ‘Mortality and Population Management’ section, the draft states, “Assess need for predator management in additional caribou ranges and identify the need to coordinate with neighbouring jurisdictions” and “Ongoing coordination of predator management program delivery with British Columbia.”
This initiative is mirroring calls for change in BC’s caribou conservation efforts, where just recently Lush Cosmetics teamed up with Wildlife Defence League and a Squamish artist at the Vancouver Mural Festival to lift the veil on the neighbouring province’s caribou crisis that has seen hundreds of wolves killed.
The group said in Alberta, an estimated 2,500 animals have been killed since 2005 in an effort to conserve Woodland Caribou with the “unethical wolf kill program.”
Their deaths including being “shot from helicopters, slowly strangled in killing snares, or asphyxiated by strychnine after experiencing excruciating convulsions.”
Parr calls the practices being used to kill wolves “archaic, that poison is cruel, it’s indiscriminate — so it’s not only killing the target species,” adding that it has also killed other species in the area, including grizzly bears, which are endangered in the province of Alberta.
The group is also concerned about the use of neck snares that some trappers use, calling them “indiscriminate and inhumane” without the ability to bring about a swift death.
Wolf Awareness said to “speak up to stop the misguided wolf kill program and demand that ecosystem sustainability be prioritized.”
As Alberta proposes to expand the wolf kill program it’s “still failing to address the long-term protection of habitat suitable for self-sustaining caribou herds,” according to the group.
The group said since the predator-killing program started 14 years ago, in the ranges of the A La Peche and Little Smoky herds, it has expanded to the East Side of the Athabasca, Cold Lake, Redrock-Prairie Creek, Chinchaga and Narraway ranges — the final two in concert with a wolf-kill program underway in BC.
According to Wolf Awareness, last year alone more than 400 animals were killed for caribou recovery — and it fears if this draft agreement is approved with the expansion of the predator-kill program, “it is reasonable to conservatively estimate that 500 wolves will be killed each year in Alberta under the guise of caribou conservation. Arithmetic tells us that approximately 2,500 wolves would be killed in the next five years alone.”
Alberta is seeking the public’s input and comments in the form of a survey for the Conservation Agreement for Woodland Caribou until October 6, 2019 on its website.
The Federal Government is also asking for input online surrounding Woodland Caribou in Alberta, however, only until September 7, 2019, or you can send an email: email@example.com.
Wolf Awareness is also offering you an opportunity to make your voice heard through its online platform to use its comment form to reach decision makers at the provincial and federal levels — it’s also asking you to use its “Policy Positions on Experimental wolf reduction programs underway in Western Canada.”