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"When will this government learn that killing wolves will not bring endangered caribou back in the absence of habitat protection."

Paul Paquet, a biology professor who also works with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, suggested the cull would be ineffective because habitat loss, not wolves, are driving the caribou's decline.
"These caribou are on a long-term slide to extinction as a consequence of what people have done, and that's clearly where the blame should go," Paquet said.


From the articles you posted. I am interested how both caribou and wolves managed to survive for so long previous to European arrival?
 

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"When will this government learn that killing wolves will not bring endangered caribou back in the absence of habitat protection."

Paul Paquet, a biology professor who also works with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, suggested the cull would be ineffective because habitat loss, not wolves, are driving the caribou's decline.
"These caribou are on a long-term slide to extinction as a consequence of what people have done, and that's clearly where the blame should go," Paquet said.


From the articles you posted. I am interested how both caribou and wolves managed to survive for so long previous to European arrival?
Blame is one thing and I am sure no one will argue that , but to NOT cull the wolves just because "its not their fault" is even more short-sighted than culling them. When one gets back to reality, and not the esoteric make-believe world of the rainforest conservation foundation, one will realize that there are certain things we have little control over in the environmental protection game, habitat loss to human encroachment is one of them.

Lets suggest that we do not cull the wolves and we just let them eat the very last of these caribou, what will they turn to next when their natural food supply is gone? I would not look forward to being a farmer, (or a pet) when 184 starving wolves turn to other food sources.
 

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... one will realize that there are certain things we have little control over in the environmental protection game, habitat loss to human encroachment is one of them.

Lets suggest that we do not cull the wolves and we just let them eat the very last of these caribou, what will they turn to next when their natural food supply is gone?
If we have no control over habitat loss then who does? A wolf works a damn sight harder to kill a caribou than it does to kill livestock. Where is the livestock predation of these deadly and terrifying predators? Why aren't they already killing cattle in droves?
Obviously the answer to my previous question is that the populations self managed. More wolves when caribou were numerous. Less when they weren't. The only thing that has changed as far as I can see is that we have earmarked the caribous' habitat(and the wolves') for ourselves. If your going to be honest about it, kill off the last of them and stop buggering about shooting wolves from helicopters and the wolves will die off too. Then we can pave it.:2cents:
 

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Whack the wolves. No issue......sure they DID manage themselves before whiteys showed up but that ship has sailed. We have been here a LONG time and have made our impact. We are now thrust into the ecosystem with many of our actions contributing to the decimation of many a population.

Don't fool yourself to think livestock are not being preyed upon, media outlets won't tell you that. ;);)

In this case, roads/snowmobile trails make it VERY easy for wolves to gain the upper hand. Wolf pops will eventually go down when the ungulates are gone but when the ungulates being "gone" equates to an entire population no longer existing, we need to step in. This province is overrun with Wolves and the predator/prey cycle is not as simple as the snowshoe hare/Lynx cycle which runs roughly on a 7 year run of high and lows.

Culling wolves is no different than culling any other animal aside from the fact there is this spiritual stigma attached to them; and they live in "families". They are indiscriminate predators that DO kill for the kill in that they won't consume an entire animal before moving on whereas Grizz and Cougars for examples will stay on a kill as long as possible.

My Dad is a well known Wildlife biologist and I am not speaking out my arse....I have been in the bush and part of research in my younger years.

Oh yeah....also knew Paquet many years ago, he has his head firmly up his rear and likely Suzuki's too.
 

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Read the management plan I posted. In their own plan it admits that culling only has a short term impact and as wolves breed so rapidly the hole will be filled up rapidly by other wolves moving into the gap. They are talking about 184 wolves when over a thousand are already killed in the province yearly. It smacks of appeasement to me and I highly doubt it will have more than a very short term effect on caribou numbers. If you read that plan a large portion of their prey was found to be beaver. In fact the largest portion. Looks to me like more political smoke and mirrors. Also check out the graphs which detail how many wolves were killed for feeding on livestock. It is a minuscule percentage of the total killed. And this is the government's own figures on which they are basing the cull.
 

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From the report, it seems some of the herds are functionally extinct already. A herd of 18 animals in South Selkirk unless it can breed with other herds is done. The animals are already interbreeding which will reduce the viability of the offspring even further, making them even more susceptable to death by disease or predation. It seems killing wolves is probably more to appease ranchers than to protect Caribou that are dying out for a multitude of reasons.
 

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Interesting documentary by Gordon Buchanan on BBC2 over Xmas. He spent a few weeks on Ellesmere Island with a family of wolves that had never seen humans. Their main prey is muskox and arctic hare. Well worth a look. Part 2 is also on YouTube.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
... When one gets back to reality, and not the esoteric make-believe world of the rainforest conservation foundation, one will realize that there are certain things we have little control over in the environmental protection game, habitat loss to human encroachment is one of them.
The largest threat to these caribou herds (and many other ungulate / wildlife species) is directly related to what you note. Habitat loss and fragmentation is occurring at an unprecedented rate in BC, realistically in the Country as a whole. Hand in hand with that is the alteration of the habitat base in ways that greatly favor predator access / hunting success. Of course this is directly due to our intrusions seeking greater returns from resource extraction operations, and in some cases, expanding ranching / farming efforts.

We have indeed disrupted any form of "balance" in a great many ecosystems - to the point where the viability of many species that rely directly on them is in jeopardy. Unfortunately there is NO "turning back the clock", nor any real concerted effort to slow down our invasive and destructive operations on the ground. Thus it follows that since "We" are the ones who have so badly disrupted the natural balance of things, We are also responsible for doing what we can / must to at least try and encourage / maintain what semblance of "balance" as we are able to identify and act upon.

In the case of expanding predator populations and resultant declines in prey populations, reductions of the former is an obvious "starting point", often with tangible benefits (albeit generally short term).

From the report, it seems some of the herds are functionally extinct already. A herd of 18 animals in South Selkirk unless it can breed with other herds is done.
Given their extremely low numbers, this is a Very Valid Concern. Recognizing that wolf predation ranges up to near 40% of annual losses, this program "may" tip the balance just enough to allow their survival. Of course it is a "band aid" maneuver and not by any means a long term "solution".
But at least it affords the caribou "a chance", whilst sitting idly by and witnessing their final collapse certainly does not.

Predator culls are always controversial. Many mistakenly believe that if "left to their own devices" some sort of "natural balance" will eventually be struck allowing both predator and prey to coexist in sustainable numbers. Unfortunately due to the level of our Disruption, that idea is simply a Fairy Tale at this stage of the game. The balance has been awfully skewed, and only proper management has any chance of re-establishing any sense of "balance" (induced rather than "natural") in the vast majority of cases. When that management entails less than palatable actions (to some) it should still be recognized for what it is - science based management to try and re-establish sustainable ratios between predator and prey species. And in extreme cases (such as the one this topic focuses on), simply to allow some threatened species to continue to exist.

Wolves are a resilient species. Culls have been implemented in many other jurisdictions, and well shown in most to be a "temporary solution" to the problem. In almost all cases, wolf populations rebound within a short matter of a few years. That said, in some cases their short term removal has lead to the longer term survival of ungulate populations under pressure.

Until we are ready and willing to turn around our desperate focus on "big wages, raises, social programs, pensions and decadent lifestyles" there will be an ever increasing requirement for management to become directly involved in striving to keep the ship on an even keel in the face of ever increasing pressure on habitat and environs. Simply the way it is, and I really do not believe there is anything we can, as individuals nor collectively, do to change this direction. Sometimes those management decisions aren't all that "pretty". Such is Life. Suck It Up, and get on with doing what we must to at least TRY and keep yet another species from wandering off this God Forsaken Planet on our watch... yet again...

Cheers,
Nog
 

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Nog, you said 'That said, in some cases their short term removal has lead to the longer term survival of ungulate populations under pressure.'
Can you cite some examples please? From the province's own plan I posted above it is fairly obvious that a wolf cull in one form or another has been going on for about a hundred years(probably more). My point was that the small number of wolves being culled by helicopter seems to not really be enough to make a difference especially when you look at how many more are killed in BC yearly. It also must be pretty expensive I'd have thought with fuel, pilot and marksman to pay for. How many can they shoot an hour? Have these marginal caribou populations previously been protected by wolf culls or is this the first time?

Edit:
After reading some scientific papers it seems the situation is a lot more complicated than I first imagined. Moose were not that common in many parts of BC before 1900. I didn't know that. Moose populations increased with the advent of large scale logging as they moved into areas previously not their normal habitat as it became denuded. Wolf numbers increased as a direct result of this new food source and caribou also lost much of their habitat due to human encroachment. Coupled with that certain populations which didn't migrate to relatively wolf-free areas became dinner for Mr Wolf more frequently than they would otherwise have done. This resulted in fragmentation of populations that had previously been secure and all this happened over a hundred years ago. Seems like a bit of the boy with his thumb in the dyke to cull the wolves now once the damage is done.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Nog, you said 'That said, in some cases their short term removal has lead to the longer term survival of ungulate populations under pressure.' Can you cite some examples please?


I'll have to do a little digging...
The two examples that immediately sprang to mind involved wolf reductions in two areas of the Yukon. One of my School Chums (still a damn good Buddy) was one of the Biologists involved, and also acted as a Gunner for those operations. Thus he had a fair amount of "first hand" experience. I was working next door in the NWT at the time, and we maintained constant contact, so I learned quite a lot regarding those operations.

Of the two caribou populations involved in those projects, one was down to around 200 animals, the other around 600. Wolf predation at that point ranged from 45 - 70 % of their realized annual moralities (No Hunting Regulations for the previous 5 - 10 years). The reduction programs were Intensive, and hundreds of wolves were removed from both areas. The response from the caribou facing greatly reduced wolf predation took a couple of years to substantiate, but was then recognized as nearly "explosive". That continued to the point the herd with < 200 grew to well over 1400 animals, and the other rebounded to in excess of 3000. An "aside" benefit was subsequently recognized when local moose populations in both areas also increased substantially following the cull years.

The cull was halted after 3 years of operations. Within 3 years of that, the wolf populations rebounded to nearly the same level as previous to those projects. The difference at that point was the caribou and moose populations had expanded sufficiently to support that level of predation without suffering grievous declines.

Today the caribou numbers have once again declined somewhat, but not to the dangerously low levels prior to the cull. Wolf populations continue to increase, and I believe there is now thought being given to another round of reductions down the road.

I'll give my buddy a nudge and see what he can come up with for literature in these cases... Let you know what I may find...

From the province's own plan I posted above it is fairly obvious that a wolf cull in one form or another has been going on for about a hundred years(probably more). My point was that the small number of wolves being culled by helicopter seems to not really be enough to make a difference especially when you look at how many more are killed in BC yearly. It also must be pretty expensive I'd have thought with fuel, pilot and marksman to pay for. How many can they shoot an hour? Have these marginal caribou populations previously been protected by wolf culls or is this the first time?
The overall number of wolves killed in the Province cannot really be classified as a "cull". These are largely the result of trapping operations, and to a lesser extent hunter harvests / livestock killer removals. As such, they are spread over a huge geographic area, and not localized to any specifically defined locale. Facing a burgeoning wolf population as BC currently is, the removal rate at this point is realistically insignificant, as it reflects a harvest rate much less than the current Recruitment Rate. Such sporadic and disconnected removals have really no impact on the population numbers as a whole - which partially explains their increasing population levels under the current level of removal.

The difference with an intentional cull program is that it is VERY location specific, and the intent is to greatly reduce the numbers In That Specific Area. While at first glance, the numbers involved may appear to be "small", in fact when taken in the context of "X number of square miles" the localized impact is Huge. What is being proposed is clearly not a Province wide reduction, rather area specific removals engineered to aid prey populations that are on the verge of extirpation. Frankly if this experiment proves to be a success, I (amongst many) would suggest applications of the same be considered for many other areas in BC where wolf numbers are becoming an ever increasing problem.

Yes, aerial gunning is a Damn Expensive Proposal. In the case of these particular caribou herds (most notably the southern one) methinks there will be some "outside assistance" in the funding department. These herds have always been "High Profile". They represent the very last of the species that wander into and occasionally frequent the lower 48 US States. Unlike Canada (especially under Harper's Regime) The US doesn't eff around with their Endangered Species Act, nor remedial recovery programs. Great attention is paid to corresponding Federal Legislation, and active management plans / projects to aid recovery. In this instance, a great deal of US funding has found it's way North in the form of ongoing studies, transplant programs and more. I would find some surprise were the US not be discovered to both be in full support of this proposed reduction, and to some extent, funding of the same.

After reading some scientific papers it seems the situation is a lot more complicated than I first imagined. Moose were not that common in many parts of BC before 1900. I didn't know that. Moose populations increased with the advent of large scale logging as they moved into areas previously not their normal habitat as it became denuded. Wolf numbers increased as a direct result of this new food source and caribou also lost much of their habitat due to human encroachment. Coupled with that certain populations which didn't migrate to relatively wolf-free areas became dinner for Mr Wolf more frequently than they would otherwise have done. This resulted in fragmentation of populations that had previously been secure and all this happened over a hundred years ago. Seems like a bit of the boy with his thumb in the dyke to cull the wolves now once the damage is done.
And therein you define just One of the Symptoms of "our" interference and disruption. This simply did not "happen over 100 years ago", rather it has been an ongoing & developing Problem for in excess of 100 years. One which continues today. Which leads me back to what I noted previously:

"Until we are ready and willing to turn around our desperate focus on "big wages, raises, social programs, pensions and decadent lifestyles" there will be an ever increasing requirement for management to become directly involved in striving to keep the ship on an even keel in the face of ever increasing pressure on habitat and environs. Simply the way it is, and I really do not believe there is anything we can, as individuals nor collectively, do to change this direction. Sometimes those management decisions aren't all that "pretty". Such is Life. Suck It Up, and get on with doing what we must to at least TRY and keep yet another species from wandering off this God Forsaken Planet on our watch... yet again.."

"Finger in the dyke"? Perhaps. The end result of doing nothing is akin to The Great Flood as far as the caribou are concerned. ;)

Cheers,
Nog
 

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Such is Life. Suck It Up, and get on with doing what we must to at least TRY and keep yet another species from wandering off this God Forsaken Planet on our watch... yet again...
More than just a little melodramatic. The species is not "wandering off the Godforsaken planet" as there are many healthy herds elshwere. Caribou are not an endangered species. These local populations are under threat, and there is always a balance to what can or should be done to preserve such a population. Should it include killing off animals that are not the primary problem and are unlikely to do anything more than possibly delay their removal? Animals are displaced all the time due to human development and expansion. Unfortunately some caribou populations may also fall victim to this, But the species is not endangered.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
More than just a little melodramatic. The species is not "wandering off the Godforsaken planet" as there are many healthy herds elshwere. Caribou are not an endangered species.
More than just a little Ignorant (as in Uninformed) I see... ;)

There were at one point seven recognized Distinct sub-species of Caribou, each filling an environmental niche with little or nor "overlap". Today, we have five. Two are extinct.

The US has Listed Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) as "Endangered" since 1983 (although industry pressure has given rise to consideration of "down-listing" of late - Sound Familiar?)

http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=A088

Canada responded in kind just a few short years later, and in fact, a quick glance at the current Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Listings rather well indicate that of the nine current listings for Caribou (ranging from "Special Concern" through "Extinct") British Columbia has the distinction of topping the Area Listings with eight:

http://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/search/advSearchResults_e.cfm?stype=species&lng=e&advkeywords=caribou&op=2&locid=1,12,2,5,9&

Not really all that surprising when the very herds in question in this thread appear on that list - some more than once.
Also hardly too surprising is the glaring fact that although listed, many (not just caribou btw) have not hit "Schedule" or "SARA" status as of yet. We are apparently a tad behind in that process... ???

About the time Harper et al got into Control, the "rules" for Listing underwent some "changes". Those now include that COSEWIC findings: "must be reassessed using revised criteria before they can be considered for addition to Schedule 1 of SARA. After they have been assessed, the Governor in Council may on the recommendation of the Minister, decide on whether or not they should be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk."

Considering the apparent amount of "influence" certain industries currently enjoy with our current government, this too should not be all too surprising. Even perhaps "enviable" from many a US industry point of view...

Of course not ALL caribou are "Threatened,", must less "Endangered". In the North, some herds continue to display rather robust numbers. I've hunted them up there btw, and they really do Taste Great!


But I can also tell you, as a Hunter first, and as a Biologist second, there are MAJOR Differences between the sub-species. Comparing any with the luxury of relative population abundance to those of concern at this point is a good definition of the term "Apples to Oranges". They are indeed Distinct.

And some btw ARE Endangered.

These local populations are under threat, and there is always a balance to what can or should be done to preserve such a population. Should it include killing off animals that are not the primary problem and are unlikely to do anything more than possibly delay their removal?
Ahhhh... But What If?

What if the the predator cull was part of some larger plan?

What if that Plan that included targeted habitat restoration and protection?

What if this particular measure was (is) recognized as a "stop gap" imposed to afford the herds in question the possibility of buying just enough time to capitalize on the overall management Plan?

And finally...

What if
that Plan already exists, and is currently being exercised on??

It Is. :thumbup:

http://globalnews.ca/news/1775813/b-c-hunting-wolves-by-helicopter-to-save-endangered-caribou/

Animals are displaced all the time due to human development and expansion. Unfortunately some caribou populations may also fall victim to this...
Spoken like a True Believer in Two-Legs "right to pave the planet". Conversation around the latte table perhaps??

Sorry. Sort of. It's just that this particular mindset got us into the whole Friggin' Mess in the first place.
And for now there is but little end in sight for it.
So if I happen to come off a little "melodramatic", simply write it off to me getting just slightly jaded countering discussions with those that don't bother to look $hit up...


Cheers,
Nog
 

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Actually you said a "species" not a subspecies walking off the planet. My statement that the species has many other healthy herds is entirely correct. I dont need to provide a reference for that, one herd in Alaska numbers over 300,000 animals. No where do I say Im a true believer in the two legs "right to the planet" as you ignorantly state. Unfortunately its a fact that an expanding population and "healthy" growing economy will consume more resources. I make no argument it is right or particularly good. Yet we should embrace the "Human intervention can make it all right" by mindlessly exterminating wolf populations because it "might" help some caribou subspecies that are dying off for other reasons. We should do so because simple minded human interventions such as killing an apex predator always works out so well? I do not support a wolf Cull which is more about what ranchers want. Its great they have a plan to save these caribou, I hope they implement it, which is usually not the case. Plans are produced to save lots of endangered streams, forests, subspecies, species etc, and the reality is only a few will have the resources to implement them and/or will have the agreement of stakeholders. It is certainly worth discussing if this and specifically the expensive proposition of flying of helicopters around to kill wolves is a prudent use of these scarce resources, and if it will even do anything other than make ranchers happy. I did not attack you personally as you did me in your post, as you seem to feel it necessary to attempt to bully anyone who disagrees with you.
 

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I did not attack you personally as you did me in your post, as you seem to feel it necessary to attempt to bully anyone who disagrees with you.
Doesn't look like that to me Cali. I see no personal attack nor bullying of any kind. If you are perceiving any bullying, you're being hypersensitive. Too easy to call anything "bullying" these days. In fact Matt distinctly defines the ignorance as being misinformed and no insult intended. Looks like Matt has done enough research to comment on this topic from a very informed position.........just sayin...................
 

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It's too easy to get into a fight about just about anything online. I was interested mainly in knowing whether the wolf cull is actually going to do anything useful or not in the eyes of people who know more about the subject than I do(which is not saying much). I notice that you mention caribou AND moose populations rebounding, Nog, yet apparently factors which have lowered caribou numbers have allowed moose to move into places that they never historically existed. BTW AFAIK the word 'cull' simply means to kill selectively. So whether you do it regionally, province-wide or specifically between certain dates any kind of killing is still a cull. It's from the Latin verb 'to select'.
 

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Doesn't look like that to me Cali. I see no personal attack nor bullying of any kind. If you are perceiving any bullying, you're being hypersensitive. Too easy to call anything "bullying" these days. In fact Matt distinctly defines the ignorance as being misinformed and no insult intended. Looks like Matt has done enough research to comment on this topic from a very informed position.........just sayin...................
he leads with "More than just a little Ignorant". No thats not any kind of personal attack.

"Spoken like a True Believer in Two-Legs "right to pave the planet". Conversation around the latte table perhaps??" Im sure that wasn't meant as the insult it appears to be.
 
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