Wildlife activists are targeting a Williams Lake business and two rod and gun clubs in the Kootenays for hosting contests to kill animals, including wolves, coyotes, cougars and raccoons.
The Wildlife Protection Coalition, made up of 54 conservationists, animal protection organizations and scientists, is calling on the B.C. government to put a stop to the contests.
“The coalition is currently aware of three separate contests, the first is a “wolf-whacking contest” hosted by Chilcotin Guns in Williams Lake; the second is a “predator tournament” hosted by the Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club; and the third is hosted by the West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club,” the Wildlife Protection Coalition stated in a press release issued Monday.
In an open letter dated March 10, addressed to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Doug Donaldson, the signatories from the coalitions highlighted concerns about the existence of contests throughout the province that are encouraging the indiscriminate killing of animals.
“In some cases, participants receive points for the type of animal killed and are competing for a cash prize,” the coalition stated.
A spokesperson from Chilcotin Guns said Monday morning the contest was started in support of the cattle industry which was being decimated due to an overpopulation of wolves attacking cattle over the last decade.
“This is not an emotional issue – it’s statistical, we have an overpopulation of wolves and these contests were to show support to our local ranchers and to raise awareness about the impact of the losses on the cattle industry and our declining moose population.”
The spokesperson said the wolves are being trapped by registered trappers, not hunted.
“You have to be a hell of a hunter to shoot a wolf, trapping is a different story. The only reason the wolves are being trapped is due to the predation on the cattle. These losses, especially for a small producer, are devastating. Talk to the ranchers, the losses have been horrendous.”
Charlotte Dawe, conservation and policy campaigner for the Wilderness Committee, however, said the growing trend of killing some species to save others is “deeply concerning and not as genuine as some may think.”
“Governments are choosing to kill predators rather than address the actual problem, which is habitat destruction. Wolves get killed so that governments don’t have to deal with the burden of protecting and restoring habitat,” she added.