A new B.C. government grey wolf draft management plan has found the species has largely recovered across the province after persecution last century. Grey wolves are now “not at risk” and have a, “widespread, large population with no evidence of decline over the last 10 years,” finds the report released Nov. 14.
The recovery follows “persecution” through much of the 20th Century; their population and ranges decreased due to poisoning, trapping and other targeted efforts to reduce grey wolf populations, the report states.
Of particular local interest to Revelstoke, the plan supports hunting, trapping and potentially shooting wolves from helicopters in order to aid recovery of species at risk, specifically mountain caribou.
The plan outlines how decisions to reduce wolves would be made. It favours short-term reduction efforts, noting the inter-relationship between predator and prey is very complex. Successful intervention will rely on much existing research done over the past decade and ongoing monitoring, the plan states.
“Intensive wolf reductions should be viewed as a short-term treatment rather than a long-term cure,” it says. “To reduce wolves over the long term requires a reduction in the abundance of their primary ungulate prey.”
The plan also supports hunting and trapping wolves to reduce their threat to livestock.
It does not support hunting or trapping wolves in order to increase ungulate populations for hunting, as was done during the 1980s when wolves were shot from helicopters causing much controversy.
That wolf kills are highly controversial in B.C. is acknowledged throughout the report: “The species attracts a highly polarized debate between those who see the wolves as emblematic of B.C.’s wilderness heritage and those who see them as a threat to game species, agricultural interests, and human safety,” it notes.
The B.C. government is seeking public input on the draft management plan until Dec. 5.
[Editor’s note: This story is an early draft. Want to comment on the plan for the story? Please call Aaron Orlando at 250-814-8710 by Nov. 17.]