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.)

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

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

From left to right. Jeremy, Ryan and Mitch Hunter are all third generation owners of Excel Tire, which will soon to become Trail Tire. (File)
3 generations later: Iconic Revelstoke tire business to be retread with new name

Excel Tire soon to become Trail Tire, but is still owned by the Hunter family

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Downtown Revelstoke on March 4, 2021. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
48 COVID-19 cases in February for Revelstoke

Since the start of the pandemic roughly one out of 30 local residents have contracted the virus

About 50 people gathered Friday, March 5, 2021 in Penticton to protest city council’s decision to close a temporary winter shelter. (Jesse Day - Western News)
WATCH: Protest over Penticton shelter draws large crowd

People are gathering in Gyro Park to protest the closure of a winter shelter

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

Paramjit Bogarh, connected to the murder of his wife in Vernon 35 years ago, has been relerased on full parole, one year after he was sentenced to five years in prison for accessory after the fact. (Contributed)
Full parole for ex-Okanagan man who helped wife’s alleged killer escape

Paramjit Bogarh pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after helping brother flee Canada

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, normally held in August, was denied a grant due to COVID. (File photo)
COVID makes some of the 2021 grant decisions for Princeton council

Municipality doles out funds while striving to meet policy

Most Read