Provincial biologists capture one of three remaining mountain caribou in a South Selkirk herd, to relocate it with a larger group in an effort to maintain a viable breeding population, January 2019. (B.C. forests ministry photo.)

B.C. wolf kill continuing into 2021 to protect caribou herds

Protests continue over cow moose hunt to reduce prey

The B.C. government is carrying on its “wolf cull” for a fifth year, along with a hunter harvest of cow and calf moose to further reduce wolf populations in areas where caribou herds are beginning to recover from a long decline.

The B.C. wolf kill program has been credited for rebounds in shrinking mountain and boreal caribou populations, where some Kootenay herds have disappeared and the largest herds in the Peace region have started to recover after dwindling to a few hundred animals. And the latest protests have not been over shooting wolves from helicopters, but on the NDP government’s approval of game tags for up to 400 antlerless moose for the fall season in addition to bulls.

The province has budgeted $1.2 million for caribou protection measures in the current fiscal year, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said in debate on his ministry budget last week, and $500,000 of that is to pay for a fifth winter of wolf removal to protect caribou calves. For the Peace region herds, he said the efforts are paying off.

“The overall population in the central group right now is estimated at a little less than 300,” Donaldson said. “The historic levels were in the range of 2,000 animals. That would take a long time, to get to those numbers. Of course, the herd could become self-sustaining and also be able to provide Indigenous harvesting rights opportunities before that historic number is reached.”

Restoring the Peace herds is the aim of a sweeping land use agreement with the West Moberly and Saulteaux First Nations that was signed in January 2020. It adds two million acres to protected areas on northern B.C., developed amid protests that the forest industry and local governments were shut out as the federal government led talks.

RELATED: B.C., Ottawa sign 30-year deal on northern caribou

RELATED: B.C. Interior moose population declines after fires

The B.C. government backed off from extending protected areas at the expense of logging and mining in the Cariboo and Kootenay regions, after Donaldson declared that predator control and maternity pens for caribou were turning around the decline.

The Peace region agreement focused on the central caribou group, including the Klinse-Za herd northwest of Chetwynd that was reduced to 16 animals by 2013. With pens to protect newborns, habitat restoration and wolf removal, the Klinse-Za population had recovered to 80 southern mountain caribou by 2020.

Declining moose populations in some regions have sparked protests about the province’s antlerless moose hunt, part of an effort to reduce wolf packs. Long-time hunter activist Dan Simmons has worked with numerous Indigenous communities who are concerned about moose populations affected by forest fires and hunting, petitioning the province to protect cow and calf moose.

The dynamics of big game in B.C. have been changing. The NDP government barred grizzly hunting for non-Indigenous people and resident hunting has shown signs of decline. Deer wander in rural yards and gardens as in urban neighbourhoods, and Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier has questioned Donaldson about farmers coping with a surge in elk damaging their crops.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

DriveBC webcam shot of Highway 20 near Anahim Lake Friday, Oct. 23 at 11:30 a.m. shows snow-covered roads. A travel advisory is in effect. (DriveBC webcam image)
Travel advisory in effect for Highway 20 from Williams Lake west to Firvale

Winter driving conditions continue to have an impact

Quesnel residents still needed to cross Fraser River footbridge, despite the winter weather. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel discovers October winter wonderland

Cariboo residents awoke to snow on their cars, and plows on the road to deal with the white stuff

Grizzly bear sightings are up in the Likely area this year. (Ivan Hardwick photo)
COS says grizzly bear sightings up in the Likely area

Two grizzly bear siblings were moved a short distance away from Likely

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read