Victoria, B.C. (February 16, 2022) – Today, an amalgamation of not-for-profit organizations working to stop the B.C. government’s wolf cull program launched Howl2Horgan, a new public engagement campaign targeted at Premier John Horgan. The campaign launched shortly after the B.C. government quietly renewed the wolf cull for another five years despite its own public survey results indicating most individuals oppose the program. Respondents instead overwhelmingly favour habitat protection and restoration as areas they want the government to focus on for caribou recovery.
This morning, several billboards went up on the Patricia Bay Highway on south Vancouver Island, where 28,000 drivers a day travel from B.C.’s lower mainland to downtown Victoria. The billboards direct people to a website where they can learn why killing wolves won’t save caribou, and immediate action needs to be taken by the B.C. government to protect habitat for this endangered species. The groups are encouraging people to contact Premier Horgan asking for an immediate end to the cull in favor of safeguarding and restoring critical old-growth caribou habitat.
“Wolves play an important role as apex predators & ecosystem engineers,” said Karen McAllister, Executive Director of Pacific Wild. “The government’s decision to scapegoat wolves represents a failure to protect and restore old-growth forest habitat required for mountain caribou to recover to healthy populations. Caribou depend on old-growth for food, shelter, and safety from predators. This habitat has been fragmented and destroyed by industrial logging, mining, oil and gas exploration, and recreational activity like snowmobiling, heliskiing, and cat skiing. It needs to be protected for caribou to survive and no amount of killing wolves will change that fact.”
The wolf also holds a special, spiritual connection to First Nations — a major reason for the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) to join this project. “They are our relatives, revered as sacred. We have coexisted with wolves for millennia and they are deeply entrenched in our lifeways and belief systems; they are part of our ceremonies, regalia, and stories. Wolf culls and caribou habitat recovery are complex, interlinked issues for B.C. First Nations that are fundamentally rooted in challenges created by the provincial government and their mismanagement of caribou habitat. Rather than the province imposing unilateral state decisions on wolf culling, territorial management must be up to our proper Title Holders, and their laws, jurisdiction and legal orders must be recognized and upheld.” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC.
“On top of all this, shooting wolves from helicopters is also inhumane and many are left wounded to die in the snow. This operation is going on with no public oversight,” said Liz White, Executive Director of Animal Alliance. “B.C. is renowned for the wide array of wildlife that call it home. But surprisingly, it’s one of only two Canadian provinces that has not adopted the Canadian Council on Animal Care standards that guide the welfare and humane treatment of animals, including those found in the wild. This is yet another concerning aspect to wildlife management that allows archaic activities like these wolf killings to continue.”
“The program is also a waste of money, having cost taxpayers millions of dollars since it began in 2015,” said Leslie Fox, Executive Director of Fur-Bearers Society. “To date, nearly 1,500 wolves have been killed. In the last three years alone, over $4.2 million dollars have been spent–an average of $4,800 per wolf.”
Another member of the project is Takaya’s Legacy, founded by Cheryl Alexander, an environmentalist and conservation photographer best known for documenting the life of Takaya, the famous lone wolf who lived on a small archipelago off the coast of Victoria. “The story of Takaya has captured the hearts and minds of wildlife lovers around the world,” Alexander explained. “His tragic death has become a rallying call for members of B.C.’s constituency to get involved in this issue – to advocate for habitat protection and an end to recreational and government-mandated killing of wolves.”
All of the organizations and representatives involved are asking people who want immediate habitat protection and restoration, and an end to the government’s aerial wolf killing program, to visit howl2horgan.org and take action, by sending a letter or making a phone call to Horgan’s office to voice their concern.
Howl2Horgan is an amalgamation of non-for-profit organizations working to stop the B.C. government’s wolf cull. With the help of public supporters, we can ensure wolves are given the protection and respect they deserve. Protect Old-Growth, protect caribou, stop killing wolves.
Animal Alliance of Canada is proud to be a part of the coalition to stop the wolf cull in B.C.
Donate here to help us fight the wolf cull and protect caribou.