Letter: Protect habitat, don’t kill wolves, to save caribou

Virginia Thompson, a former member of the Mount Caribou Project, writes not enough is being done to protect caribou habitat.

A female caribou and her calf inside the maternity pen north of Revelstoke.

Editor,

Re: Environmental groups criticize new mountain caribou recovery proposals

As a member from 2006 to 2014 of the Mountain Caribou Project, a group of environmental organizations working on the Mountain Caribou Recovery Plan of 2007 and its implementation, I would like to clarify information on caribou habitat protection in the Revelstoke Shuswap Planning Unit.

The protection referred to in your article sounds very large however, no matter how good protection of 40 per cent of core caribou habitat sounds, this is referring to what was retained for caribou in the land use plans before the 2007 recovery plan. Mountain caribou were declining at an alarming rate with this protection and government deemed it necessary to have a new protection plan with increased retention of habitat and more recreational closures to recover this provincially endangered species.

Provincial government scientists said an additional 34,000 hectares of core habitat would need to be protected to achieve the “assisted long term self sustaining” (ALTSS) option for recovery chosen by the government. However, the government decided to retain only 10,000 hectares for socio-economic reasons. It was thought this drastic reduction probably downgraded our option for recovery to “maintain with resilience.” (MWR)

Further, government then decided to count 2,600 hectares of habitat retained under a former land use plan toward the 10,000 hectares. This left only 7,400 hectares of new protection. Then, in 2011, a biodiversity amendment was approved that allowed forest licensees in this area to log old growth management areas to almost entirely replace the 7,400 hectares they lost in the 2007 recovery plan. Caribou need old growth for food and protection from predators. Old growth also does not attract deer and moose, which attract wolves and cougars, which then prey on caribou.

The ALTSS option for recovery is still written as what we have here, when we certainly are in the MWR option, if not even lower into the “status quo” option. The ALTSS option says some predator prey control would be required in the short term until forest habitat can grow back. The MWR option requires indefinite predator prey control, and status quo means it is not worth doing predator prey control. The caribou herds are left to their own devices, i.e. written off.

The take away message is the habitat piece of the Mountain Caribou Plan of 2007 is not in place in our planning unit. While recognizing the complexity of this issue, I have confined my focus here to habitat for two reasons: first, habitat protection is foundational to caribou recovery, and second, I feel the public should know the truth about the state of habitat protection in our area. This will help people evaluate the issue.

My question is: What do people want in this situation? I strongly suggest the federal and provincial governments protect more caribou habitat. This will probably save the North Columbia Herd at least, and avoid killing so many animals in what is turning into a bloodbath.

Virginia Thompson,

Revelstoke

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

Just Posted

Community musicals return to Revelstoke 11 years later

Shrek the Musical is showing in Revelstoke Feb. 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Jan. 23

120 years ago: Revelstoke Herald, Jan. 20, 1900 Mr. Fayette Buker opened… Continue reading

Snow angels: Revelstokians shovel for those who can’t

‘They’ve helped me make it through the rest of the winter’

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Classic tale seeks North Okanagan ballet dancers

Anne of Green Gables, by Ballet Jorgen, in Vernon

North Okanagan youth ready to make some NOYSE

Showcase of excellence features talents of young local performance

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

Rockslide obstructing traffic on rural Shuswap road

Large boulders rolled onto Sunnybrae Canoe-Point Road in the South Shuswap.

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Most Read