Alberta wolf killings must end

An open letter to the Alberta government: I am not in support of the killing and culls of wolves. There are critical flaws in your logic of slaughtering wolves to protect caribou. The sad reality is caribou are on the way out due to the mismanagement of them for decades now. You have known that issue for 50 years.

An open letter to the Alberta government:

I am not in support of the killing and culls of wolves. There are critical flaws in your logic of slaughtering wolves to protect caribou. The sad reality is caribou are on the way out due to the mismanagement of them for decades now. You have known that issue for 50 years.

Caribou numbers are not dwindling due to wolves, they are in this situation because of us; we have allowed the province and industry of Alberta to destroy the habitat that caribou require. You have allowed all the mining and logging and snowmobiles/ATV activity to continue in this critical habitat. It’s ironic who is actually on the Caribou Board — mostly executives from the oil companies! This caribou problem is the consequence of our neglect.

Wolves are emotional and intelligent beings and need their family unit to survive. There are major ecological repercussions when wolves are exploited and killed. The ripple effects are detrimental to the behaviour and diversity of many other species and natural processes. Wolves are a keystone species. Wolves are very important in maintaining balance and biodiversity.

We as Canadians and taxpayers deserve to become informed on how our tax dollars are being spent. Our input deserves to be heard.

The decision to kill more wolves is scientifically unsound. Killing wolves to increase ungulate populations is an outdated management practice that has failed to increase ungulate populations long-term wherever it has been tried in the past. Wolf populations rebound quickly and dispersing wolves fill in the vacant space created where resident wolves have been killed. All evidence to date shows that killing wolves will not work to reduce predator numbers long term.

This is note the first time wolf helicopter killing and sterilization has occurred in Alberta. The Alberta government has killed over 1,000 in 10 years. All past efforts where wolves have been killed have failed to increase caribou numbers. Why are we attempting this again and over and over? Not to mention the strychnine and trapping Alberta currently uses. Do you know how much pain animals go through before dying in a trap? Would you do that to a dog? Many dogs and people have inadvertently been caught in traps. Do you know how many other animals are killed from your poison baits as well?

This is also a question of animal welfare. Are we as a society prepared to spend the next 30 years shooting wolves from helicopters and spending hundreds of thousands of our taxpayer dollars to do so? Causing harm to hundreds of intelligent and sensitive animals for any reason should be questioned for its moral ground. Aerial shooting is not an approved method under Canada’s current guidelines on Approved Animal Care. Shooting wolves from helicopters violates animal care standards and is unjustifiable. And I have contacted Ecojustice on this matter.

Conservation, ecology, wolf social dynamics, animal welfare and ethical considerations were left out of this part of the caribou recovery plan and an apparent pre-determined agenda which encourages killing wolves has been exposed.

We as Canadians deserve to have a Canadian legacy of Wilderness and Wildlife left to us. We Canadians who enjoy wilderness and pay taxes to fund these massacres need this exposed. We cannot afford to let the killings of wolves happen silently.

End the wolf killings now!

Leeanne Willoughby

Benalto