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How Many Wolves Matter?

Posted Apr 25th, 2014 in Blog

How Many Wolves Matter?

British Columbia Plays the Numbers Game

No one is really sure just how many grey wolves there are in B.C.. It is estimated that there are roughly 8,500 grey wolves in B.C.. Perhaps in some locations as meager as 5,300, other locations 11,600. According to the province the Lower Mainland, Thompson and Vancouver Island regions host the lowest population densities for grey wolves.

How many wolves matter? One, a couple of dozen, a few thousand, all of them? Grey wolves are regal, mighty carnivores that fill the vital role as an apex species. Each wolf plays an integral part of a much greater intricate whole- the pack. The pack is connected to the life, death, life cycle of both the prey and the predator. Grey wolves are the creator, mentor and facilitator of healthy and robust ecosystems. There is so much we do not know about how much wolves benefit …It appears the designers of this barbaric plan don’t care.

For wolf advocates and researchers alike, the shallow data leaves everyone in the dark and begs a legitimate question of how can there be a two-zone plan without concrete data? The lives of many wolves hang once again, in the balance. Perhaps the lives of other large carnivore species such as cougar and bear will now fall prey to this latest attempt to increase lethal “controls” on wolf populations across the province. We just do not know enough science to allow this plan to gain more wild ground or garner more support from the consumptive lobby. Fragmented habitat like the political landscape of this plan, will have far reaching negative impacts on the sustainability of wildlife in B.C..

According to an April 18th article in The Tyee, the “B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations released its 56-page management plan for the grey wolf in B.C. the day before the start of the Easter long weekend.” Page 25 under subsection 7.5.2 Knowledge Gaps and sections 8.1 to 8.3 truly reflects the estimates that signify this plan.  Suggestions are made for the protection of livestock and other wildlife species in particular caribou along with other ungulate species by grazing over the very complex prey-predator interrelationships that should be at the heart of any wildlife management proposal. Once again, the grey wolf like other keystone species, are the scapegoats for human mismanagement of livestock and the haphazard protection of critical habitat for all species, not just species at-risk.

The removal of one alpha wolf can have a devastating blow to the future establishment of wolf families in the home territory. The number game does not represent conservation science regardless of how anecdotal wolf kills are reported on hunter cards or data is collected on alleged wolf kills due to livestock predation. To grasp how killing an alpha leads to the breakdown of the pack read Rick Lamplugh’s One Hunter’s Bullet.

It is time for the citizens of B.C. to stand together and let the voices of compassionate conservation echo to the mountains, forests and parks. There are wolf and wildlife advocate organizations and biologists alike that are standing together to meet the challenge of raising awareness about the wolf management plan. There are non-lethal proven techniques to address farming in harmony with carnivores. Just Beings provides an elaborate and essential Rancher’s Toolkit available at no cost to any farmer or rancher, government agencies,  and other NGO’s keen on fostering effective coexistence between people, livestock and wolves.

Spokesperson, Sadie Parr, of Wolf Awareness Inc. located in Golden B.C., provides the much needed conservation science to safeguard against the destruction of wolves. In a recent document presented to social media titled ADD CONSERVATION,  major concerns and appeals against the proposed wolf management plan are outlined for all to consider

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